Professor Martin Hewitt

Research Professor

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: History

Research Supervision:Yes

A research Professor in History, Martin's current projects include a study of the reception of Darwin in Victorian Britain, and the Very Short Introduction: the Victorians for Oxford University Press.

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Professor Hewitt read History at Oriel College Oxford, before embarking on postgraduate work which took him to the University of Warwick (MBA), the University of New Brunswick (MA in History) and then back to Nuffield College, Oxford, where he completed a DPhil on mid-nineteenth century Manchester with Asa Briggs.

He has taught at the London School of Economics, the University of Hull, and Leeds Trinity University, where he was Director of Research and Professor of Victorian Studies. He was Head of History and then History, Politics and Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University (2008-12), Dean of Music, Humanities and Media at the University of Huddersfield (2012-16), and Dean of Arts, Law and Social Sciences at ARU (2016-18).

Professor Hewitt was the founding editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture and first Secretary of the British Association for Victorian Studies. His published work has ranged across topics including the Victorian city and its cultural institutions, diaries and life-writing, Victorian Studies as a field, and the Victorian press.

Research interests

  • Nineteenth Century Britain
  • Victorian Studies
  • Press and Periodical History
  • Public Lecturing

Professor Martin Hewitt has broad interest in the social and cultural history of the nineteenth century, broadly conceived. He has worked on the history of Victorian Manchester, including work on literary associations, libraries, public lectures, social and philanthropic associations. He has also worked on the nineteenth century press. His current broad project is a consideration of the role of generational patterning in the Victorian period. This focus of this work is currently on a project looking at generational influences on the reception of Darwin’s evolutionary thinking in the 50 years after the publication of On the Origin of Species.

Areas of research supervision

  • Modern British History
  • Victorian Culture, especially life writing


  • BA (Hons) Modern History, Oriel College, Oxford
  • MBA, University of Warwick
  • MA in History, University of New Brunswick
  • DPhil in History, Nuffield College, Oxford

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member of Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College
  • Jury member, Colby Prize (2013)
  • Honorable mention, Colby Prize (2014)
  • Donald Gray prize for the best essay in Victorian Studies in 2006 by the North American Victorian Studies Association (2007)
  • Library History prize (2001)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Belcher Visiting Fellow in Victorian Studies, St Hugh’s College, Oxford, January 2020 -
  • Visiting Fellowship, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, October-December 2019
  • Curran Fellowship of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (2013) to support the research which led to The Dawn of the Cheap Press.

Selected recent publications

'British Social History 1770-1918' (Routledge Historical Sources series), co-editor with Susie Steinbach (Hamline University, USA), commissioned with projected launch date of Autumn 2021.

'Victoria’s Victorians and the Mid-Victorians', Journal of Victorian Culture 24.4, (2019), 431-39.

Entries on Absalom Watkin and a group biography for the Association for the Repeal of the Taxes on Knowledge, Dictionary of National Biography (2019).

Hewitt, M., "The Law and the Press", in Joanne Shattock ed. Journalism and the Periodical Press in Nineteenth Century Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 147-164.

Hewitt, M., "Fifty years ahead of its time? The provident dispensaries movement in Manchester, 1871-1885", in Alan Kidd and Melanie Tebbutt eds. Essays in Honour of Mike Rose (MUP, 2017), 84-108.

Hewitt, M., "A little bit of a Victorian? Asa Briggs and Victorian Studies", in Miles Taylor ed. The Age of Asa: Asa Briggs and the shaping of History and Higher Education in Modern Britain (Palgrave: 2014), 46-78.

Hewitt, M. The Dawn of the Cheap Press in Victorian Britain. The campaigns against the taxes on knowledge, 1849-1869 (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013).

Hewitt, M. "Preaching from the platform: popular religious lecturing and the challenge of the churching the masses", Keith Francis and William Gibson eds. The Oxford Handbook to the British Sermon, 1689-1901 (OUP 2012), 79-96.

Hewitt, M. ed. The Victorian World (Routledge, 2012).

Recent presentations and conferences

'Darwinism’s Generations. Responding to Evolution, 1859-1909', Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, October 2019.

'Reception of Darwinism in Later Victorian Britain', 'Victorian Fears', Newman University, June 2018.

'Victoria's Victorians and the mid-Victorian Generation', Generation of 1819 symposium, University of York, April 2018.

'Victorian Generations', Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, Santa Barbara, March 2018.

Media experience

Martin is regularly consulted by broadcasters, journalists, television production companies (recently appearing on the BBC Radio 4 programme 'Power to the People'), and in April 2016 consulting on two episodes of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are, including filming for one episode), and other history-sector organisations.