Dr Perry Gauci

Featured Publication

William Beckford: First Prime Minister of the London Empire (Yale University Press, June 2013).

The Front Cover of Dr Gauci's book regarding William Beckford

This first-ever biography of William Beckford provides a unique look at eighteenth-century British history from the perspective of the colonies. Even in his own time, Beckford was seen as a metaphor for the dramatic changes occurring during this era. He was born in 1709 into a family of wealthy sugar planters living in Jamaica, when the colonies were still peripheral to Britain. By the time he died in 1770, the colonies loomed large and were considered the source of Britain's growing global power. Beckford grew his fortune in Jamaica, but he spent most of his adult life in London, where he was elected Lord Mayor twice. He was one of the few politicians to have experienced imperial growing pains on both sides of the Atlantic, and his life offers a riveting look at how the expanding empire challenged existing political, social, and cultural norms.


My research interests broadly rest with the political and social development of the English state from 1650 to 1750. Having studied the English civil war as an undergraduate, I was interested to see how the state managed to overcome the bitter factionalism of the 1640s and 1650s, at both a national and local level. My doctoral thesis concentrated on a leading provincial town, and allowed me to explore the relationship between politics at the centre and at the periphery. My work suggested that "national" historians have perhaps underestimated the impact which local and regional circumstances could have on political developments in this period, and that the very notion of "politics" needs to be expanded to encompass the significance of social and economic factors in determining allegance. In order to probe these issues further I undertook a study of the English merchant from 1660-1720, so that I could measure the responsiveness of the English state to contemporary commercial and political change. I then pursued these themes by focusing on the City of London and have since widened my interests to incorporate Britain's imperial experience. Historians, led by Lincoln's Paul Langford, have viewed Georgian Britain as a "polite and commercial people", and I hope that my research will help us understand how that came about.

  • Revisiting The Polite and Commercial People Essays in Georgian Politics, Society, and Culture in Honour of Professor Paul Langford

  • A trader of knowledge and government: Richard Houncell and the politics of enterprise, 1648–51

  • The attack of the Creolian powers : West Indians at the parliamentary elections of mid-Georgian Britain, 1754-74

  • William Beckford

  • Regulating the British Economy, 1660–1850

  • Un apprentissage impérial: William Beckford et la cité de Londres

  • The Clash of Interests: Commerce and the Politics of Trade in the Age of Anne

  • Bigger Business: The Social and Political Impact of the London Merchant 1660-1800

  • Mercaderes Ingleses en Alicante en el Siglio XVII

  • Mercaderes Ingleses en Alicante en el Siglio XVII

  • More

Current DPhil Students

  • Emma Page
  • Yasir Nawaz
  • George Artley

I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students regarding any fields related to me research or any potential Masters students looking at Eighteenth Century Atlantic World and British History.

I currently teach:


British History V British History V
Historiography  General History X
Optional Subject: Theories of State Further Subject: Age of Jefferson
Optional Subject: Haiti and Louisiana Further Subject: The Metropolitan Cruciable
  Special Subject: English Arcitecture
  Disciplines of History