I read Modern History at Wadham College, Oxford, hold an MA in Modern History from the University of London (Royal Holloway) and was awarded a PhD by the University of Liverpool in 2003. My doctoral research focused on the library and reading of British Victorian Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), work which formed the basis of my first monograph, Reading Gladstone (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), as well as a series of articles. Over the past fifteen years I have taught in a wide range of Higher Education institutions across the UK; held two postdoctoral research fellowships (in History and Theology) at the University of Oxford; and, more recently, held management and administration roles at the Open University and the University of Essex, where I currently work part-time as an Education Developer. I joined the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2009 and currently teach on the Level 3 module, A326 Empire: 1492-1975. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
My research interests are rooted in the nineteenth-century history of Britain and its global political, cultural and religious spheres of influence. My fascination with Gladstone and his world continues, and has broadened out significantly into a wider interest in the ways in which political figures have been represented, in particular visually, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Between 2008 and 2011 I undertook research within the Faculty of Theology at Oxford into the community life and religious beliefs of a late-nineteenth-century millenarian sect, the New and Latter House of Israel or ‘Jezreelites’. This was part of a wider, collaborative ‘Prophecy Project’ which aimed to trace the development of Joanna Southcott’s ideas and influence from the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries. I am currently working on a monograph based on this research.
Reading Gladstone (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
William Gladstone: new studies and perspectives edited by Roland Quinault, Roger Swift, and Ruth Clayton Windscheffel (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012).
‘Introduction’ in William Gladstone: new studies and perspectives (eds) Roger Swift, Roland Quinault, and Ruth Clayton Windscheffel (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 1-12.
‘The Gladstone Diaries’, in Lambeth Palace Library: Treasures from the Collections of the Archbishops of Canterbury edited by Richard Palmer and Michelle Brown (London: Scala, 2010), pp. 156-7.
‘Politics, Portraiture, & Power: reassessing the public image of William Ewart Gladstone’ in Public Men: masculinity and politics in modern Britain edited by Matthew McCormack (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), pp. 93-122.
‘Dancing to the Music of Time: Modernity, Secularization, and Incarnation’, Nineteenth-Century Prose, Volume 39, Numbers 1 and 2 (Spring / Fall 2012), 49-57 (Invited contribution).
‘Gladstone & Scott: family, identity, & nation’, Scottish Historical Review, Volume 86.1, Number 221 (April 2007), 69-95.
‘Politics, Religion, & Text: W. E. Gladstone & spiritualism’, Journal of Victorian Culture, Volume 11.1 (Spring 2006), 1-29.
‘Gladstone, Tennyson & History: 1886 & all that’, Tennyson Research Bulletin, Volume 8, Number 3 (November 2004), 151-165. [Published as Ruth Clayton].
‘Masses or Classes? The question of community in the foundation of Gladstone’s library’, Library History, Volume 19, Number 3 (November 2003), 163-172. [Published as Ruth Clayton].
‘Gladstone’s Library & the Cultural Organization of Knowledge’, Leeds Working Papers in Victorian Studies, Volume 5 (2002), 91-109. [Published as Ruth Clayton].
‘W. E. Gladstone: an annotation key’, Notes & Queries, Volume 48, Number 2 (June 2001), 140-143. [Published as Ruth Clayton].