Photo of Professor Richard Toye

Professor Richard Toye

BA(Birm) M Phil (Birm) PhD (Cantab) FRHistS

Head of History, Professor


01392 723296

I am an historian of Britain in in its global and imperial context in the period from the late Nineteenth Century to the present day. I am particularly interested in the rhetorical dimensions of politics, economics and empire. I am the author of three books on Winston Churchill and a number of other works. My most recent book (co-authored with Prof. Martin Thomas) is Arguing About Empire: Imperial Rhetoric in Britain and France, 1882-1956 (OUP 2017). Prior to moving to Exeter in 2007 I taught at the universities of Manchester and Cambridge.

Research interests

I research British and international political and economic history in the period since 1867. I have worked on the Labour Party and on the United Nations, as well as on figures such as David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill and H.G. Wells. I am very much interested in the history of international trade.

I recntly worked with my colleague Professor Martin Thomas on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, entitled 'The Rhetoric of Empire: Managing Imperial Conflict between Britain and France'. Our monograph entitled Arguing About Empire will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

I was previously awarded a one-year fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust to work on ‘The origins and impact of Churchill's imperialism’ in 2007, and won an AHRC fellowship for my work on ‘The Rhetorical Culture of the British House of Commons, 1918 – 1940’ in 2011.


Research supervision

I would be keen to supervise students in the following areas: -

  • Labour party history.
  • Conservative party history.
  • Liberal party history.
  • The careers of politicians or officials.
  • The politics of the British Empire.
  • The politics of international trade.
  • The history of news.

Other information

You can read my history and politics blog at Links to many of my publications can be found at


I was born in Cambridge in 1973; I subsequently lived in Swansea and then Hove. After completing my BA and M Phil degrees at the University of Birmingham I returned to Cambridge to do my PhD. From 2000 to 2002 I worked at the University of Manchester, and then went back to Cambridge again, where I served for five years as Director of Studies for History at Homerton College. In 2007 I moved to the University of Exeter.