Professor Peter Jupp

Historian of the 'long' 18th century


Peter Jupp, historian: born London 20 August 1940; Lecturer, then Reader, in History, Queen's University, Belfast 1964-93, Professor of British History 1993-2005 (Emeritus); married 1964 Belinda Penney (one son, one daughter); died Belfast 14 September 2006.

Peter Jupp was one of Britain's most eminent historians of the "long" 18th century. He was the author of several acclaimed works of scholarship, including a classic biography of the early-19th-century prime minister Lord Grenville. Teaching at Queen's University, Belfast for over 40 years, he exercised an enormous influence as a highly gifted lecturer, and contributed to the stability of the academic and wider communities in Belfast at a time of intense civil unrest.

He was born in Hackney, London, in 1940, and educated at Dame Alice Owen's School in Islington and at Reading University, where he read Modern History (and met his future wife, Belinda Penney). Jupp was part of the circle of gifted research students working alongside Arthur Aspinall, Professor of Modern History at Reading, and a formidably learned historian of Hanoverian Britain. Aspinall's enthusiasms for high political history, and for the assiduous collection and editing of original manuscripts, left a clear impression on Jupp, whose own scholarship was distinguished by a passion for original source materials.

Under Aspinall's supervision Jupp completed his doctorate, the conclusions of which were later partly incorporated into his British and Irish Elections, 1784-1831 (1973). Like Aspinall, Jupp contributed extensively to the great History of Parliament project, founded by the Labour MP Josiah Wedgwood, and decisively shaped by Sir Lewis Namier. Jupp, too, was concerned with the discovery and collation of manuscript materials: he edited The Letter-Journal of George Canning for the Royal Historical Society in 1991, and was working on an edition of the diary of the third Earl Grey at the time of his death.

However, his reputation was chiefly anchored in three great works of interpretation and analysis. His study of William Wyndham, Lord Grenville, William Pitt's foreign secretary from 1791 to 1801 and successor as prime minister, 1806-07, Lord Grenville, 1759-1834 (1985), demonstrated a meticulous archival scholarship, and is widely regarded both as the definitive treatment of its subject, and as a leading example of British political biography.

Jupp had a lifelong fascination with the career of the first Duke of Wellington, and combined this enthusiasm with his concern for the structure of early-19th-century politics in his British Politics on the Eve of Reform: the Duke of Wellington's administration, 1828-1830 (1998). The centre of gravity of the work was high politics (which was Jupp's abiding passion), but the work's themes also embraced the extra-parliamentary and the popular: it has been ranked alongside similarly focused work on other periods by Lewis Namier and Norman Gash.

His last book, published weeks before his death, was The Governing of Britain, 1688-1848 - a fitting professional culmination, in so far as it was the most ambitious of his scholarly enterprises, and united so many of his political historiographical concerns.

Jupp's public and national significance stems from his pre-eminence as a scholar and as a researcher. But his influence was also achieved through the generations of undergraduate and research students whom he taught. His developing talents had been recognised and nurtured both by Aspinall and by Michael Roberts, Professor of Modern History at Queen's University, Belfast; Jupp was appointed by Roberts to a lectureship there in 1964.

His arrival in Belfast coincided with an upsurge in student radicalism, and indeed popular mobilisation against the failings of the devolved government at Stormont: it was thus a period of mounting communal tensions, and - after 1969-70 - increasing violence. In these unpropitious circumstances, Jupp shone: he had strong opinions on many scholarly issues, was often teasingly provocative in his statements, was sometimes genially outrageous, but was also uniformly generous with his knowledge and with his time. He sustained an unusual combination of charisma and affability. He was an elegant and stimulating lecturer, and a highly patient tutor: the field-trips that he led gravitated inevitably towards the Big Houses of the 18th-century political class that he so loved, but were also both convivial and intellectually stimulating.

If Jupp helped to hold together academic life in Belfast at a time of political crisis - his contributions to Queen's were recognised by promotions to a readership and, in 1993, to a personal chair in British History - then he also helped to bolster the city's sometimes ailing cultural scene in the 1970s. He had wide musical tastes, but a particular, and deeply informed, enthusiasm for jazz. He was the organiser, for many years, of the Guinness Jazz Spot, one of the highlights of the annual Belfast International Arts Festival. At a time when war-torn Belfast was a hard sell to the outside world, Jupp succeeded (through patience and persistence) in tempting many leading jazz musicians to his adopted city. Here, as in his academic life, he worked easily with established figures such as John Dankworth, Humphrey Lyttelton or Ronnie Scott, but also took care to encourage aspiring talent.

Music was not his only recreation. His research interests were complemented by a love of books, prints and caricatures: he collected the works of Gillray, Rowlandson and other late-18th-century artists with knowledge and avidity. He had a passion, too, for cars, lavishing money and affection on an ageing hard-top Triumph TR4 as well as a battered Austin 1800: he defended his purchase of an unlovely Austin Maxi and plotted the acquisition of a superannuated Rolls-Royce. He was an enthusiastic fisherman and an equally keen rackets player.

Peter Jupp was a great political historian, whose published work will have a lasting scholarly value. He was an important unifying and normalising force in Northern Ireland in the years of the "Troubles". But he had also a great gift for friendship: his easy and urbane manner, hints of vulnerability, perennial smile, ready barks of laughter, combined with his myriad enthusiasms to create a special and attractive personality.

Alvin Jackson

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup