John Harold Plumb (known as Jack) was born in Leicester on 20 August 1911. He was educated in Leicester before coming to Christ's College in 1934 to work for his PhD under G M Trevelyan. Following war service at Bletchley Park, he returned to Christ's in 1946 as Fellow and Tutor. He was appointed a University Lecturer in History, rising by 1966 to a personal Chair as Professor of Modern English History. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1968 and was knighted in 1982.
He was Master of Christ's College from 1978 to 1982 and remained a Fellow until his death on 21 October 2001 at the age of 90.
Although best known as an historian, he was also an entrepeneur, a bob viveur, a connoisseur of food and wine and a collector of fine silver and porcelain.
A biography can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Plumb
J H Plumb Centenary Dinner
On Monday 31 October 2011 a gala fundraising dinner was held at the National Portrait Gallery, where Plumb was a Trustee for many years. On arrival guests were greeted by a string quartet before making their way to the Tudor Gallery for a champagne reception. We were delighted that Mr Sandy Nairn, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, was able to attend the reception and welcome alumni and guests to the Gallery.
Dinner was served in the Weldon Galleries, surrounded by portraits of the peope Plumb wrote about. Professor Sir David Cannadine (Honorary Fellow) and Professor Frank Kelly (Master) welcomed guests and spoke about Plumb. The Master introduced the new J H Plumb Fellow whose appointment had been secured thanks to those attending the event.
After dinner Professor Simon Schama gave an entertaining and though-provoking speech about Plumb and history.
The speeches are now available on-line.
We would like to thank all those who supported this event and the J H Plumb Fellowship.
J H Plumb Symposium
On Saturday 2 July 2011 the College held a symposium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of J H Plumb. The programme was as follows:
Welcome and introduction by Professor David Reynolds
Plumb and the 18th century by Professor Linda Colley and Professor Paul Langford
Plumb and Social/Cultural History by Mr Neil McKendrick and Professor Roey Sweet
Plumb and the historian as public intellectual by Professor Sir David Cannadine and Professor Stefan Collini
Recordings of the talks are available: