I have taught at the University of Nottingham for much of my career. In addition to my work in the Department of History, I am:
- Chair of the Thoroton Society, the local history and archeology society for Nottinghamshire.
- Chair of the History of Lincolnshire Committee which publishes scholarly monographs on the county
- Convenor and Editor of the Nottinghamshire Church History Project (joint web-based project with the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham}
- Chair of the Editorial Board of the academic journal Midland History
I have supervised research students in all areas of eighteenth and nineteenth century British history.
Recent successful Ph.D. students have worked in the following areas:
Nottinghamshire landowners and their estates c.1660 - c.1840
The renaissance of the English market town study of six Nottinghamshire market towns, 1680-1840
Patrician landscapes, plebian cultures : parks and society in two English counties, c.1750-1850
Parliamentary Enclosure in Northamptonshire,
Parliamentary Enclosure in Lincolnshire
Working-class diet and health in Nottingham, 1850-1939
The political activities and opinions of the Fourth Duke of Newcastle (1785-1851)
Anglican Choir Bands in the East Midlands
The Lincolnshire attorney in the 18th and 19th centuries
Seventeenth century Leicestershire politics
Enclosure in the Isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire
The Rural Shop in the East Midlands since the nineteenth century
The 1918 influenza outbreak (Spanish Flu) in the East Midlands
Nonconformity in south Nottinghamshire in the nineteenth century
The Cotton Industry in the Leen Valley
Poaching in the East Midlands
I have supervised research students working on politics and print in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century East Midlands, the development of industrial Derby, the Union with Scotland in 1707, and the University of Nottingham in the First World War.
Principal Investigator, Engagement Centre for Hidden Histories of the First World War. AHRC-funded project (2014-19) as part of a major initiative on the First World War across the country.
Principal Investigator, Nottingham's Green Spaces. AHRC-funded project on the history of the green spaces and of their usage today.
The English Village. A book on the evolution and development of the English Village through time, arising from my work (2005-10) as Director of the Victoria County History (University of London; seconded from the University of Nottingham. AHRC Fellowship in 2011. Several chapters written: research ongoing.
A history of the University of Nottingham. A project sponsored by the university, and published Summer 2016. Lectures and other spin-off events.
Southwell Church History Project (University of Nottingham, and Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham. Preparation of researched histories of each church and church site in Nottinghamshire lead ingto (a) a website (ongoing), (b) an edition in the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire Record Series, and (c) a major scholarly study of the evolution of church buildings since the Norman Conquest (with archaeological editor Christopher Brooke).
Propaganda in the First World War. A study of the use of propaganda during the First World War, with particular reference to the Central Committee for National Patriotic Organizations. In preparation.
The Chilwell Explosion, July 1918. A detailed study of the explosion in one of the largest munitions factories in Britain in the First World War. 134 fatalities and many injuries.
The Great Escape, September 1917. A study of the break out by German military officers from the Prisoner of War Camp at Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire. The buildings which constituted the POW camp are now part of the University of Nottingham's Sutton Bonington Campus.
Memorialising the First World War. A book length study of how the First World War was commemorated over the years c.1919-30.
Newstead Abbey and the Byronic legacy. A study of the break up of the Newstead (Nottinghamshire) estate in the 1920s and 1930s, and at the position of the Abbey as a memorial to the Romantic poet, Lord Byron.
A book on Local History in England, for Routledge. In preparation.
I continue to supervise research students at the University of Nottingham, and am happy to consider applications for work in any area of British history, including local history (both within the East Midlands and further afield) since the seventeenth century.
The PhD students who I am currently supervising are as follows:
Michael Crane - the development of Derby
Hannah Nicholson - political propaganda in the early nineteenth century in the East Midlands
Michael Noble - the University of Nottingham in the First World War
Michael Taylor - the Union with Scotland in 1707.
'The decline of manorial control over village and community governance, 1600-2010', 8th European Social Science History Conference, University of Ghent, Belgium, 14 April 2010
'Local History in its comparative international context', International Symposium, Institute of Historical Research, 8 July 2009
'The New Domesday of Landownership, 1875, and its aftermath', 7th European Social Science History Conference, Faculty of Letters, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 28 February 2008
(with Michael Turner), 'Agricultural Productivity in England, 1700-1914', European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST) action A35: Program for the study of European rural societies (PROGRESSORE) Third Workshop for Working Group 2 (Rural management of land): `Production and productivity in European agriculture in a historical context', University of Lund, Sweden, June 13-14 2008
'Libraries and the Victoria County History', Historic Libraries Forum, Royal Asiatic Society, London, 15 November 2007
'End of the Old Order? The Land Question and the Burden of Ownership in the UK, c.1880-c.1925', Sixth European Social Science History Conference, Amsterdam, 22 March 2006
(with Michael Turner), 'F.M.L. Thompson and the English Land Market, 1918-21', British Agricultural History Society, Winter Conference, IHR, London, 10 December 2005
(with Michael Turner), 'The Land Question and the Burden of ownership, c.1880-1925', 'The Land Question' conference, the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, 3 July 2005
`Historical Dimensions of Sustainable Farming', ESRC Transdisciplinary Seminar Series: Approaches to Sustainable Farmland Management, School of Geography, University of Nottingham,13 January 2004
(with Michael Turner and Bethanie Afton), `Agricultural Sustainability', British Agricultural History Society Spring Conference, University of Sussex, 8 April 2002
`The Anglican Diocese as Region: the creation of Southwell Diocese, 1878-1884', Conference of Regional and Local Historians (CORAL), University of Wolverhampton. 6 September 2001
'Byron and the Luddites', Lucy Edwards Lecture, Newstead Abbey Byron Society, 11 December 2011.
'The Victoria County History and the Lincoln Record Society: the quest for a 'County History' of Lincolnshire', Jim Johnston Memorial Lecture, University of Lincoln, , 18 May 2010
'The Early days of the Victoria County History', Christopher Elrington Memorial Lecture, Amwell Society, Islington, London, 26 January 2010
'Two Christian Counties: Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and the Diocese of Southwell, 1884-1927', Roy Christian Memorial Lecture, Derby WEA and Derbyshire Archaeological Society, University of Derby, 11 January 2008.
'England's Past for Everyone', Gerald Aylmer Seminar, Royal Historical Society, 20 November 2008.
'England's Past for Everyone: researching the local community', Historical Association Annual Conference, Clore Centre, British Museum, 14 April 2007
'Local History, family history and the Victoria County History: new directions for the twenty-first century', Marc Fitch Lecture, University of London, Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck, 23 September, 2006.
'Byron and Newstead: the Aristocrat and the Abbey', VCH Essex Appeal Fund, AGM, Blix, nr Chelmsford, 22 November 2006
'The Victoria County History: Past, Present and Future', Historical Association, Manchester Branch, 4 November 2006
'The Survival of the Aristocracy in England: how did they do it?', HA Essex, Chelmsford, Essex Record Office, 13 May 2006
'Building towns and suburbs: landlords, enclosure and commons, 1750-1914, Victorian Society, East of England Groups, Lucy Cavendish Hall, Cambridge, 8 April 2006
'Byron and Newstead: the Aristocrat and the Abbey', London Byron Society, The George, 213 Strand, London, 22 February 2005.
'Agriculture and the Industrial Revolution', Cheshire Local History Association Annual conference (keynote address), Northwich, Cheshire, 30 October 2004
`The Survival of the Aristocracy in England: how did they do it?, Bolton Branch, Historical Association, Bolton School, 1 March 2004
`Why Did the Aristocrats Dislike their Country Houses?', Calke Abbey (National Trust Lecture), 20 February 2004
`Byron and Rochdale', International Byron Society Annual Conference, Rochdale, 23 August 2003.
`Robert Bakewell and Agricultural Productivity: new thoughts on a well-worn theme', New Dishley Society, Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville, 17 October 2002
`Houses in Nottingham, 1688-1750', Maurice Barley Commemorative Lecture, University of Nottingham, 6 June 2002
`Jubilees, Coronations and the Creation of English Cities: Nottingham, Leicester and Derby', Historical Association, Nottingham Branch, University of Nottingham, 9 May 2002
`Byron and Newstead', International Byron Society Annual Pilgrimage, Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, 13 April 2002
`The Anglican Diocese as Region in Nineteenth-Century England', Anne Mitson Memorial Lecture, Nottingham Trent University, 20 March 2002
`Laxton: England's Last Open Field Village', Wolfson Lecture in Local History, Board of Continuing Education, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, 20 May 1999.
JOHN BECKETT, 2020. Fixing the Membership of the Lords and Commons: Sir John Cam Hobhouse and the Nottingham by-election, 1834 Parliamentary History. (In Press.)
JOHN BECKETT, 2018. The English Parish Church:: past, present and future The Local Historian. 48(4), 266-76
JOHN BECKETT, PAUL ELLIOTT, JONATHAN COOPE and JUDITH MILLS, 2017. The Social World of Nottingham's Green Spaces East Midlands Heritage and History. 5, 26-29
JOHN BECKETT, 2017. On the Radar:: the House of Lords comes in from the Cold Parliamentary History. 36(3), 372-86 (In Press.)