Rab Butler Chair in Modern History appointed

  • Date

    Tue 25 Jul 17

Dr Lucy Noakes

Our new Rab Butler Chair in Modern History has been appointed at Essex.

This prestigious role combines teaching and research with responsibility for promoting our Department of History as a centre of excellence in modern history since 1750.

Dr Lucy Noakes will be joining Essex, from the University of Brighton, in September. She is a social and cultural historian with specific interests in war, memory, gender and national identity.

Dr Noakes’ research investigates the ways in which the past is remembered, both by individuals and by society as a whole. She is currently working on a book on death, grief and bereavement in Second World War Britain, in which she explores how people articulated, or more often didn’t, the terrible experience of loss in wartime, combined with a study of how the state planned for mass death.

“I am very excited to be starting this new role at Essex. With its history of innovation and development of some of the most radical and influential aspects of contemporary historical practice, Essex has had an important role in the development of our discipline.

“I hope that I will bring my passion for historical research to this new role, and be able to communicate this to students, inspiring them to think of themselves as active historians, as well as students of history,” said Dr Noakes.

The role is named in honour of Rab Butler, the founding Chancellor of the University of Essex and prominent Conservative politician through the 1940s,1950s and 1960s. He was MP for Saffron Walden from 1929 becoming Lord Butler of Saffron Walden after leaving government office. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister. His political career included overseeing the 1944 Education Act, which introduced free secondary education in the UK.

He had very close links to our University and a building is named after him on the Colchester Campus, the home of the Research and Enterprise Office, in recognition of his role in the establishment of the University.