Stephen Frederick Roberts

Stephen Frederick Roberts

Shakespeare Institute
Honorary Fellow

Contact details

Political, social and cultural history of Victorian Britain.


  • B.A. Hons, Medieval & Modern History (University of Birmingham 1980)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (University of Birmingham, 1981)
  • M.Litt (University of Birmingham, 1986)


I have written extensively about the Chartist Movement.  The focus of my research has been on recovering the stories of the lesser-known writers and speakers associated with the movement. I have explored the poetry and novels of such artisan writers as Thomas Cooper, Thomas Miller and Willie Thom.  I have also produced a series of short ‘public history’ books relating to Victorian Birmingham.  My aim has been to draw attention to some of the interesting artists, journalists, manufacturers and philanthropists who have been overshadowed by Joseph Chamberlain.


I am planning books on recollections of Victorian Birmingham and on Samuel Timmins.  In a town swept by enthusiasm for Shakespeare, Timmins was perhaps the most ardent advocate.  He worked in close association with the preacher George Dawson, who currently greatly interests Ewan Fernie.  It is my aim to support Professor Fernie with his projects in this area.

Other activities

I am an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Arts at the Australian National University.   My websites are:  and


  • Recollections of Victorian Birmingham (2018)
  • James Whateley and the Survival of Chartism (2018)
  • Annotated Bibliography of Chartism (Birmingham 2018)
  • Birmingham 1889: One Year in a Victorian City (Birmingham 2017)
  • Now Mr Editor!  Letters to the Newspapers of Nineteenth Century Birmingham (Birmingham, 2015)
  • Sir Richard Tangye: A Cornish Entrepreneur in Victorian Britain (Birmingham 2015)
  • The Dignity of Chartism: Essays by Dorothy Thompson (London 2015)
  • Mocking Men of Power: Comic Art in Birmingham 1861-1914 (Birmingham 2014)
  • Sir Benjamin Stone:  Photographer, Politician and Traveller (Birmingham 2014)
  • Dr J.A. Langford: A Self-Taught Working Man and the Sale of American Degrees in Victorian Britain (2014)
  • The Parliamentary Career of Charles de Laet Waldo Sibthorp 1826-1855 (New York, 2010)
  • The Chartist Prisoners: The Radical Lives of Thomas Cooper and Arthur O’Neill (Oxford, 2008)
  • The People’s Charter: Democratic Agitation in Early Victorian Britain (London, 2003)