Dr Charles Read


Charles Read lectures, examines and supervises for the Faculty of History, where he is a postdoctoral fellow and affiliated lecturer. He is also an affiliated lecturer in the Faculty of Economics. His research examines the political economy of financial crises and famines in Great Britain, Ireland and the British Empire in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. He is an expert on the relationship between economic policy and financial stability in Britain and Ireland over the past two centuries.

His publications include The Great Famine in Ireland and Britain’s Financial Crisis (Woodbridge: Economic History Society/The Boydell Press, 25 Oct 2022), Calming the storms: The Carry Trade, the Banking School and British Financial Crises since 1825 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2 Jan 2023) and articles in the Economic History Review, the Historical Journal, History and Irish Economic and Social History. He is currently writing his third monograph Gentlemanly Capitalism, the 1847 Financial Crisis and the British Empire, which is under contract with Oxford University Press.

He has won more academic prizes for his research than any other early-career scholar of his generation in economic history. The research for his first project, for a doctoral thesis on the Irish Famine entitled ‘British Economic Policy and Ireland, c.1841-53’, has won the Thirsk-Feinstein PhD Dissertation Prize, the T.S. Ashton Prize for the best Economic History Review article and the New Researcher Prize of the Economic History Society. In August 2018 at the 18th World Economic History Congress at MIT he was also awarded a prestigious prize from the International Economic History Association for the best dissertation in nineteenth-century economic history completed at any university in the world in 2015, 2016 or 2017.


Tags & Themes


Corpus Christi College, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RH.


Key Publications


1. C. Read, Gentlemanly Capitalism, the 1847 Financial Crisis and the British Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, under contract).

2. C. Read, Calming the storms: The Carry Trade, the Banking School and British Financial Crises since 1825 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2 Jan 2023).

3. C. Read, The Great Famine in Ireland and Britain’s Financial Crisis (Woodbridge: Economic History Society/The Boydell Press, 25 Oct 2022).                                                                     

Published peer-reviewed articles and chapters: 

1. C. Read, ‘The repeal of the Bubble Act and the debate between the Currency and Banking Schools’, in H. Paul, D. Coffman and N. Di Liberto (eds.), The Bubble Act: New Perspectives from Passage to Repeal and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, in press, 2023).

2. C. Read, ‘Reforming the Bank of England to tame inflation and boost financial stability: Lessons from two centuries of British financial history’, History & Policy (September 2022). [https://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/reforming-the-bank-of-england-to-tame-inflation-and-boost-financial-stability-lessons-from-two-centuries-of-british-financial-history].

3. C. Read, ‘The Political Economy of Sir Robert Peel’, in J. Hoppit, A.B. Leonard and D.J. Needham (eds.), Money and markets: essays in honour of Martin Daunton (Martlesham: Boydell and Brewer, 2019) pp. 71-89. [https://doi.org/10.1017/9781787445475.005]. 

4. C. Read, Taxes, tariffs and the economics of nationalism in 1840s Ireland’, in D. Kanter & P. Walsh (eds.), Taxation, Politics, and Protest in Ireland, 1692-2016 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) pp. 199-226. [https://www.springerprofessional.de/en/taxation-and-the-economics-of-nationalism-in-1840s-ireland/16390672].

5a. C. Read, ‘The Irish Famine and Unusual Market Behaviour in Cork’, Irish Economic and Social History 44:1 (December 2017) pp. 3-18. [http://doi.org/10.1177/0332489317705461]. 
5b. Working paper version: C. Read, ‘Giffen behaviour in Irish famine markets: an empirical study’, Cambridge Working Papers in Economic and Social History No. 15 (May 2013). [

6. C. Read, ‘Laissez-faire, the Irish Famine and British Financial Crisis’, Economic History Review 69:2 (May 2016) pp. 411-434. [http://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12274]. [Winner, T.S. Ashton Prize, Economic History Society, 2017].

7. C. Read, ‘The Repeal Year in Ireland: An Economic Reassessment’, Historical Journal 58:1 (March 2015) pp. 111-135. [http://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X14000168].

8. C. Read, ‘Ireland and the perils of fixed exchange rates’, History & Policy (February 2015). [http://www.historyandpolicy.org/policy-papers/papers/ireland-and-the-perils-of-fixed-exchange-rates].

9. C. Read, ‘Peel, De Grey and Irish Policy, c.1841-44’, History 99:334 (January 2014) pp. 1-18. [http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.12045].

10. C. Read, De Grey [née Cole], Henrietta Frances, Countess de Grey (1784–1848)’, Dictionary of Irish Biography (January 2014). [https://www.dib.ie/biography/de-grey-henrietta-frances-a9548].

Book Reviews:

1.Götz, Norbert, Brewis, Georgina, and Werther, Steffen, Humanitarianism in the modern world: the moral economy of famine relief’, Economic History Review (Jul 2021).

2.  ‘D. Mulhall and E. Biagini (eds.), The Shaping of Modern Ireland’, Irish Historical Studies (Nov 2016).

3.  ‘J. Murphy, Ireland’s Czar: Gladstonian Government and the Lord Lieutenancies of the Red Earl Spencer, 1868-86’, Journal of Liberal History 91 (Summer 2016).               

4. ‘D. Lough, No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money’ and ‘S. Read, Winston Churchill Reporting: Adventures of a Young War Correspondent’, The Economist (21 Nov 2015).

5. ‘A. O. Ebenstein, Chicagonomics: The evolution of Chicago free market economics’, The Economist (22 Oct 2015).

6. ‘N. Crafts and P. Fearon (eds.), The Great Depression of the 1930s: Lessons for Today’, Journal of American Studies 49:3 (August 2015).

7. ‘A. Bielenberg and R. Ryan, An Economic History of Ireland since Independence’, Economic History Review 68:1 (February 2015).

8. ‘R. Knight, Britain against Napoleon: The Organisation of Victory, 1793-1815’, The Economist (23 Nov 2013).

9. ‘P. Gray and O. Purdue (eds.), The Irish Lord Lieutenancy c.1541-1922’, Irish Economic and Social History 40 (November 2013).

10. ‘J. Stern (ed.), The Pricing of Internationally Traded Gas’, The Energy Journal 34:4 (2013).

11. ‘D. P. Nally, Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine’, Irish Economic and Social History 39 (November 2012).