The academic community and the world of modern British history are in mourning following the passing of Professor Arthur Burns on October 3, 2023. He leaves behind a rich legacy as a distinguished historian and educator.
A Life Dedicated to History
Professor Arthur Burns was a luminary in the field of modern British history, with a particular focus on English religion from the mid-eighteenth century onward. His scholarship illuminated the complex history of the Church of England, shedding light on its evolution and challenges.
Burns was a co-founder and co-editor of the renowned monograph series “Studies in Modern British Religious History,” published by Boydell and Brewer. His commitment to advancing historical knowledge was further evident through his involvement with prestigious institutions and societies.
Arthur Burns embarked on his academic journey at Balliol College, Oxford, where he not only completed his undergraduate degree but also earned his doctorate. His dedication to historical research and teaching led him to become a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a notable recognition of his contributions to the field.
From 2012 to 2016, Burns held the position of Vice President (Education) at the Royal Historical Society, where he played a crucial role in shaping policies related to history education in schools and universities. He was also one of its Literary Directors, underscoring his multifaceted involvement in the society’s activities.
In 2017, Professor Burns assumed the role of academic director for the Georgian Papers Programme at King’s College London, further demonstrating his commitment to preserving and promoting historical research.
Throughout his career, Professor Arthur Burns produced a body of influential work, contributing significantly to the understanding of modern British history. Some of his notable publications include:
- “The Diocesan Revival in the Church of England, c. 1800–1870” (Oxford University Press, 1999).
- Co-edited with Joanna Innes, “Rethinking the Age of Reform: Britain, 1780–1850” (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
- Co-edited with Derek Keene and Andrew Saint, “St Paul’s: The Cathedral Church of London, 604–2004” (Yale University Press, 2004), awarded the 2004 Berger prize for British Art History.
- “Beyond the ‘Red Vicar’: Christian Socialism and Community in Thaxted, Essex, c. 1910–84,” History Workshop Journal (2013).
- Co-edited with Paul Readman and Chad Bryant, “Walking Histories 1800–1914” (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
A Lasting Legacy
Professor Arthur Burns’ passion for history, his dedication to education, and his numerous contributions to the field have left an indelible mark. He inspired countless students and fellow historians with his scholarship and leadership.
As we remember and honor the life and work of Professor Burns, we are reminded of the profound impact of dedicated scholars in shaping our understanding of the past and guiding the future of historical research. His legacy will continue to inspire generations of historians and educators.