Professor Adrian Randall BA, MA, PhD

Emeritus Professor of English Social HIstory

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I studied Medieval and Modern History for a BA in the School of History at Birmingham, inspired by Dorothy Thompson; Economic and Social History for a MA at Sheffield at the feet of Sidney Pollard; and undertook my PhD in Social History in the Department of Economic and Social History back in Birmingham under the supervision of John Harris.


My academic career was spent at the University of Birmingham, as Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer and, from 1995, as Professor of English Social History. I was variously Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Social Sciences, Deputy and then Head of the School of Social Sciences, Dean of Arts and Social Sciences and finally until 2011 Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching.


My research has focused upon three interlinked areas: the impact of new technologies; forms of popular protest in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; and the character of community relations in a developing market economy. I have recently published on the Swing riots of 1830 and am working on projects comparing the development of community politics and political radicalism in different English regions in the years up to the Reform Act.



  • Riotous Assemblies: Popular Protest in Hanoverian England, Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. xi + 354.
  • Before the Luddites: Custom, Community and Machinery in the English Woollen Industry, 1776-1809, Cambridge University Press, 2004 edn, pp. xvii + 318.
  • Moral Economy and Popular Protest: Crowds, Conflict and Authority, with A.Charlesworth, Macmillan, 2000, pp. xiv + 280 + index.
  • An Atlas of Industrial Protest in Britain, 1750-1990, Macmillan, 1996, pp. xvi + 225 + 65 maps: with A.Charlesworth, D.Gilbert, H.Southall, C.Wrigley.
  • Markets, Market Culture and Popular Protest in Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland, Liverpool University Press, 1996, pp. xi + 199 + index.
  • Before the Luddites: Custom, Community and Machinery in the English Woollen Industry 1776-1809, Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. xvii + 318 + bibliography and index.

Selected articles 

  • ‘”The Luddism of the poor”: Captain Swing, machine breaking and popular protest’, Southern History, 32, 2010, pp. 41-61.
  • ‘Captain Swing: a Retrospect’, in International Review of Social History, 54, 2009, 419-27.
  • ‘The philosophy of Luddism revisited’ in Technology and the West, eds., T.S. Reynolds and S.H. Cutcliffe, University of Chicago, 1997, pp. 181-198.
  • ‘Protest, proletarians and paternalists: social conflict in rural Wiltshire 1830-1850’, with E. Newman, Rural History, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1995, pp. 205-227.
  • ‘Resistance to new technology in the English Industrial Revolution: reinterpreting “Luddism”’, in Resistance to New Technology, Past and Present, ed. Martin Bauer, Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 56-78.
  • ‘Industrial conflict and economic change: the regional context of the Industrial Revolution’, Southern History, Vol. 14, 1992, pp. 74-92.
  • ‘Peculiar perquisites and pernicious practices: embezzlement in the West of England woollen industry, c. 1750-1840’, International Review of Social History, Vol. XXXV, 1990, 2, pp 193-219.
  • ‘New languages or old? Labour, capital and discourse in the Industrial Revolution’, Social History, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1990, pp.195-216.
  • ‘Work, culture and resistance to machinery in the West England woollen industry’ in ‘The industrial moral economy of the Gloucestershire weavers in the eighteenth century’ in British Trade Unionism 1750-1850: The Formative Years, edited John Rule, Longman, 1988, pp. 29-51.
  • ‘Morals, markets and the English crowd in 1766’ (with A. Charlesworth, University of Liverpool), in Past and Present, No. 114, February 1987, pp. 200-213.
  • ‘The Gloucestershire food riots of 1766’ in Midland History, X, 1985, pp. 72-93.
  • ‘The shearmen and the Wiltshire Outrages of 1802: trade unionism and industrial violence’ in Social History Vol. 7, No. 3, October 1982, pp. 283-304.