About Us

We are members of an AHRC-funded project entitled ‘Welfare and public health in Belfast and its region, 1800-1973′ which is based at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Through this website we hope to inform you about what we are doing as part of our work on poverty and welfare in Belfast, and bring together research and ideas from people working in this aspect of history, not just from the perspective of Belfast or Northern Ireland, but also from those engaged in work on all aspects of welfare and public health. We will look at these broad themes from an historical perspective, but we also want to hear from, and publish pieces by other scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as policy-makers and those who work for charitable organisations.

The team include:

Prof. Peter Gray (Principal Investigator) Gray

Peter Gray took his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of Cambridge before holding research fellowships at the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s, and at Downing College, Cambridge. He taught Irish and British history at the University of Southampton 1996-2005, before returning to Belfast to take up the position of Professor of Modern Irish History. In 2004 Professor Gray was the Burns Library Visiting Professor in Irish Studies at Boston College, Massachusetts. He was chair of the Royal Irish Academy’s National Committee for Historical Sciences 2007-10, and became Head of the School of History and Anthropology in 2010. He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2013. For more on Peter and his publications please click here

Dr Olwen Purdue (Co-investigator)Purdue

Olwen took up her current post in Queen’s University in September 2012 and is a former graduate of Queen’s University Belfast. On completing her doctorate she was appointed to a research post on the ESRC-funded project, ‘Welfare Regimes under the Irish Poor Law’, based jointly at Oxford Brookes and Queen’s, and subsequently as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Irish Studies also at Queen’s. Olwen is a committee-member of the Economic and Social History Society of Ireland and the Society for the Study of Nineteenth Century Ireland. She is co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Welfare and public health in Belfast and the north of Ireland, c.1800-1973’. For more on Olwen and her publications please click here

Dr Georgina Laragy (Research Fellow/Project Manager) Cavan_Dust_Jacket_Cover__Small

Dr Georgina Laragy completed her BA in History and Geography and MA (Research) in History at NUI Maynooth. Her PhD, on ‘Suicide in Ireland, 1831-1921: a social and cultural history’, was funded by the IRCHSS and completed at NUIM in 2005. She has worked on research projects at Oxford Brookes University (ESRC-funded ‘Welfare Regimes under the Irish Poor Law, 1850-1921’) and the University of Limerick (IRCHSS-funded ‘From the cradle to the grave: lifecycles in modern Ireland’). On this project Georgina is looking at poverty and welfare broadly in Belfast between 1850-1939. For more on Georgina and her publications please click here.

Dr Sean Lucey (Research Fellow) Lucey

Sean Lucey completed his PhD at NUI Maynooth in 2008 in the area of late nineteenth century social, economic and agrarian history which has been published as Land, popular politics and agrarian violence in late nineteenth century Ireland: the case of county Kerry (University College Dublin Press, 2011). Since then he has worked at Oxford Brookes University and University College, Dublin. He also held an Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences Fellowship (two years) in the Centre for Contemporary Irish History in Trinity College Dublin. For the project he is looking at public health and welfare in Belfast and Northern Ireland, 1920-1973. For more on Sean’s research and publications please click here

Robyn Atcheson (Ph.D. student) Atcheson

Robyn completed her B.A. and M.A. at Queen’s University. Her Masters dissertation looked at the formation of the first Foreign Mission of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1840. Her PhD will investigate the dynamics of poverty in the developing town of Belfast and its surroundings between the Act of Union and the Famine. It will consider various forms of poor relief through official systems and philanthropy as well as evaluating the medical relief available in this period. My research interests lie in the social and religious history of Ireland and Britain in the nineteenth century with a particular emphasis on early nineteenth-century Ulster. I was co-organiser of the Irish History Students Association conference at QUB in March 2013. For more on Robyn please click here

About Us