Professor Malcolm Chase

The School of History is deeply saddened to announce that Prof. Malcolm Chase passed away on Saturday 29 February 2020. Malcolm was a leading expert on British labour history and political radicalism.

As well as being an outstanding scholar, he was a much-loved colleague who set an example for us all by his kind and generous support of others, and his commitment to making academia better.

Malcolm joined the University of Leeds in 1982 in the Department of Adult Continuing Education. He moved to the School of History in 2005 and was promoted to a Chair in Social History in 2009. He is best known for his pioneering work on Chartism, though his interests encompassed a wide range of nineteenth-century social and political themes. His book Chartism: A New History (MUP, 2007) represented a landmark study that brilliantly synthesised a lifetime’s work in the archives and scholarly literature. Other key publications included The People's Farm: English Radical Agrarianism 1775-1840 (Breviary Stuff Publications, 1988), Early Trade Unionism: Fraternity, Skill and the Politics of Labour (Routledge, 2000), and 1820: Disorder and Stability in the United Kingdom (MUP, 2013). As the acknowledgements to his various books make clear, he was supported in all his intellectual endeavours by his wife and fellow historian Shirley, whom he met as a fellow PGR while at Sussex in 1979.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Malcolm was extremely active in the wider scholarly community. He was the history editor for the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, served on the editorial board of Cultural & Social History, chaired the management committee for Northern History. He was Vice-President of the Society for the Study of Labour History and from 2011-14 was the Chair of the Social History Society. He appeared on TV and radio, but was also deeply committed to engaging with, and learning from, local historians, amateur-enthusiasts, and the interested general public. 

Throughout his career Malcolm displayed a deep love of teaching, including an enduring commitment to adult education. An inspiring PhD supervisor, Malcolm was well-known for his advocacy for and enthusiastic encouragement of early career scholars, at Leeds and beyond. He was an important and influential member the School of History throughout his time here, and was much-loved and deeply respected for his kindness, generosity, commitment and good humour. He will be greatly missed, not only by us but by everyone who had the good fortune to know and work with him.