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Professor Martin Daunton FBA

Professor Martin Daunton, FBA

Emeritus Professor of Economic History

Emeritus Master and Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall


Martin Daunton previously taught at the University of Durham and University College London, before moving to Cambridge in 1997. He was chairman of the Faculty of History and of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences before he was elected to the Mastership of Trinity Hall in 2004, form which he retired in 2014. He was President of the Royal Historical Society from 2003 to 2007which involved him in debates over the role of history in education. He was a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum from 2002-2010 where he was active in discussion of how to interpret events in British history such as Trafalgar and the end of the slave trade. He is curently Cjhair of the academic awards committee of the Leverhulme Trust and a Commissioner of English Heritage.  Since 2012, he has been head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. He continues to teach, write and research in modern economic history.  His current project is a book on the economic government of the world since 1933 for Penquin.

Departments and Institutes

Trinity Hall:

Research Interests

Martin Daunton's general area of research interest is economic and social policy in Britain and its empire and in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has published two books on the politics of taxation since the end of the eighteenth century, which raise major questions about the nature of the state, its functions, the boundaries with the market and other forms of provision, the construction of economic and social knowledge, and the relationships of the state with its citizens.   He has recently published a collection of essays dealing with these themes.  He has also published two general surveys of British economic history from 1700 to 1951.  He is now working on two projects: a book on the economic government of the world since the 1930s; and intergenerational justice and economic development.

Research Supervision

Martin Daunton has supervised both in London and in Cambridge in most areas of British economic and social history since the early ninteenth century. Recent successful PhD candidates have worked on patent law and teleomminications in Britain and the USA; cultural attitudes to migration befoe 1914; the politics of asylum in Britain in the twentieth century; the use of the new world economies in policy debates; and British monetary policy and European integration. Current students are working on the economic culture of international economic policy since 1945; the emergence of Thatcherism; and the debates over monetarism in Britain.


Lectures in British economic and social history since 1700 in Part I of the history tripos and the political economic of globalization in Part II; in MPhil in economic and social history, teaches international political economy.

Key Publications


  • House and Home: Working-class housing in the Victorian city, 1850-1914 (London, 1983)
  • Royal Mail: The Post Office since 1840 (London,1985)
  • Progress and poverty: an economic and social history of Britain, 1700-1850 (Oxford, 1995)
  • Trusting Leviathan: the politics of taxation in Britain, 1799-1914 (Cambridge, 2001)
  • edited, Cambridge Urban History of Britain, 1840-1950 (Cambridge, 2000)
  • Just Taxes: the politics of taxation in Britain, 1914-1979 (Cambridge, 2002)
  • Wealth and Welfare: An Economic and Social History of Britain, 1851-1951 (Oxford, 2007)