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Professor Jerry White

Diploma of the Public Health Inspectors’ Education Board
Diploma in Housing Management of the Institute of Housing

Professor in History

Contact details

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology
Birkbeck, University of London
Room 305
28 Russell Square


Tel: 020 7631 6286


  • I have been researching and writing London history since the mid-1970s. My early formation as a historian was with Raphael Samuel and the History Workshop movement, and for many years I combined part-time research with a fulltime career in local government, mainly in inner London. I have been teaching (0.5) as Professor at Birkbeck since October 2009.

Research and teaching

  • Research interests
  • London history, 1700 to the present day
  • Teaching interests
  • MA modules
  • PhD supervision
  • I am currently supervising nine MPhil/PhD students, whose projects span a range of London and modern British history


  • Books
  • Rothschild Buildings: Life in an East End Tenement Block 1887-1920, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980 (winner of Jewish Chronicle non-fiction book prize, 1980; republished with new introduction by Pimlico, 2003)
  • The Worst Street in North London: Campbell Bunk, Islington, Between the Wars, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986 (republished as Campbell Bunk: The Worst Street in North London Between the Wars, with new introduction by Pimlico, 2003)
  • [With Michael Young] Governing London, Institute of Community Studies, 1996
  • London in the Twentieth Century: A City and Its People, Viking, 2001 (winner of the Wolfson History Prize, 2001, reprinted with new introduction, Vintage, 2008)
  • London in the Nineteenth Century: ‘A Human Awful Wonder of God’, Jonathan Cape, 2007 (paperback edn. Vintage, 2008)
  • London. The Story of a Great City, André Deutsch, 2010
  • London in the Eighteenth Century. A Great and Monstrous Thing, Bodley Head, 2012
  • (With Andrew Whitehead, eds.) 'London Fictions', Five Leaves Publications, Nottingham, 2013
  • Zeppelin Nights. London in the First World War, The Bodley Head, May 2014 (Spear's Social History of the Year, 2014)
  • Mansions of Misery. A Biography of the Marshalsea Debtors' Prison, Bodley Head, 2016
  • Articles and chapters
  • ‘Jewish landlords, Jewish tenants: an aspect of class struggle within the Jewish East End, 1881-1914', Aubrey Newman (ed), The Jewish East End, 1840-1939, Jewish Historical Society of England, 1981
  • ‘Beyond Autobiography’, Raphael Samuel (ed), People’s History and Socialist Theory, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981
  • ‘Police and People in London in the 1930s, Oral History, Vol.11 No.2, 1983
  • ‘“Penniless and Without Food”: Unemployment in London between the wars, Geoffrey Alderman and Colin Holmes (eds), Outsiders and Outcasts: Essays in Honour of William J Fishman, Duckworth, 1993
  • ‘The Ungovernment of London’, Policy Studies, Vol.14 No.3, 1993
  • Fear of Voting: Local Democracy and its Enemies 1894-1994, History Workshop Pamphlet, 1993
  • ‘Unreal City: Reflections on the London Novel in the Twentieth Century’, History Workshop Journal, Autumn 2003
  • ‘London’ in Encyclopedia of Europe 1914-2004, Macmillan USA (2006)
  • ‘Unsentimental Traveller: The London Novels of Albert Smith’, London Journal, Vol. 32 No. 1, March 2007
  • ‘Pain and Degradation in Georgian London: Life in the Marshalsea Prison’, History Workshop Journal, Number 68 (Autumn 2009)
  • ‘City Rivalries and the Modernisation of Eighteenth-Century London, 1720-1770’, Literatur in Weissenschaft und Unterricht, XLIII, 2/3, 2010
  • 'Revisiting Campbell Bunk' in Hans-Christian Petersen (Ed) 'Spaces of the Poor. Perspectives of Cultural Sciences on Urban Slum Areas and their Inhabitants', Bielefeld, 2013
  • ‘Jews and Bombs: The Making of a Metropolitan Myth,’ Colin Holmes and Anne J. Kershen (eds), An East End Legacy. Essays in Memory of William J. Fishman, Routledge, 2017, pp117-33
  • Lectures
  • I have given numerous public lectures on London history at the Institute of Historical Research, Birkbeck, University College London and elsewhere.


  • I review London books for the TLS and occasionally the Guardian. I am an occasional contributor to Radio 3’s Freethinking and frequently advise on radio and television programmes. I have been consulted as a London expert by the Guardian, Observer, and Financial Times, among other publications. I am an advisor on London and local government history for History and Policy, and have given seminars to Cabinet Office and Treasury staff and to many local government audiences.
  • 'Vengeance and the Crowd in Eighteenth Century London' Backdoor Broadcasting Company (February 2011)

Professional membership

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of England

Honours and awards

  • Hon. D Litt, University of London

Current activities

  • My Mansions of Misery. A Biography of the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison, was published in 2016. I am currently embarking on a full-scale history of London in the Second World War for publication in 2021.