Dr James TaylorSenior Lecturer
Dr Taylor's work explores the cultural, political, and legal dimensions of economic change in Britain since the 1700s. He has published on subjects ranging from the rise of the corporation, the early history of corporate governance, and the regulation and punishment of commercial fraud, to the history of the financial press and literary representations of commerce. His latest research explores the history of advertising in Britain in the early twentieth century.
Dr Taylor's first monograph, Creating Capitalism, won the 2008 Economic History Society Prize for best first monograph in Economic and Social History; his second, Shareholder Democracies (co-authored with Mark Freeman and Robin Pearson), won the Ralph Gomory Prize for best business history book of 2012. His third, Boardroom Scandal, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. He has also published articles in several leading historical journals, including English Historical Review, Historical Journal, Historical Research, and Past & Present.
His work tackles a number of overarching themes, including the relationship between morality and the market, the reliance of capitalism on the law, how trust is won, sustained, and undermined, regulation (broadly defined), and how ordinary people understand and relate to the market. Though his interests are economic, he examines economic questions from social, cultural, legal, and political perspectives.
His current research has three strands. The first is an interdisciplinary history of financial advice since the eighteenth century, in collaboration with colleagues from the universities of Southampton, Manchester, and Edinburgh. This AHRC-funded project, which began in January 2016, provides the first thorough study of a genre of writing that has amassed a huge readership, and has had major social and economic effects, but which has remained largely neglected by historians and literary critics. The project, which tracks the genre from domestic advice manuals of the eighteenth century to modern-day blogs, considers how financial advice has actively made and remade the very markets about which it advises.
The second is a history of the rise of a mass market for stocks and shares in Britain from the late nineteenth century. It explores why people invested, how they navigated the market, and who they trusted. It has important implications for our understanding of risk, trust, markets, and technology in modern society
Finally, he is also researching the rise of advertising in early twentieth-century Britain. This project explores how advertising came to occupy a central place in national culture, affecting class, gender, and national identity, and shaping how people understood their roles as consumers and citizens.
Hist280: The Victorians and Before: Britain, 1783-1901
Hist281: Britain in the Twentieth Century
Hist343: Advertising and Consumerism in Britain, 1853-1960
PhD Supervision Interests
Dr Taylor is keen to hear from students researching the following areas of British history - the history of advertising, shopping, and consumerism; the history of financial fraud and crime; the history of financial journalism and corporate governance; other topics linking economic, social and cultural history since 1800. Do contact him if you would like to discuss your research plans.
Inside and Outside the London Stock Exchange: Stockbrokers and Speculation in Late Victorian Britain
Taylor, J. 30/09/2021 In: Enterprise and Society. 22, 3, p. 842-877. 36 p.
"Distrust all Advice … and Make No Exception in Favour of our Advice": Financial Knowledge and Knowingness in Late Victorian Britain
Taylor, J. 30/06/2021 In: English Historical Review. 136, 580, p. 619-650. 32 p.
Trust, Friends, and Investment in Late Victorian England
Taylor, J. 9/02/2021 In: The Historical Journal. 21 p.
The History of Financial Advice: A Finder's Guide to the Collection at the Library of Mistakes
Crosthwaite, P., Knight, P., Marsh, N., Paul, H., Taylor, J. 12/2018
White-collar crime and the law in nineteenth-century Britain
Taylor, J. 1/09/2018 In: Business History. 60, 3, p. 343-360. 18 p.
“A fascinating show for John Citizen and his wife”: advertising exhibitions in early twentieth-century London
Taylor, J. 15/06/2018 In: Journal of Social History. 51, 4, p. 899-927. 29 p.
Written in the skies: advertising, technology, and modernity in Britain since 1885
Taylor, J. 31/10/2016 In: Journal of British Studies. 55, 4, p. 750-780. 31 p.
Directors in the dock: joint-stock banks and the criminal law in nineteenth-century Britain
Taylor, J. 31/01/2016 In: Complexity and crisis in the financial system . Cheltenham : Edward Elgar p. 164-182. 19 p.
Financial crises and the birth of the financial press, 1825-1880
Taylor, J. 08/2014 In: The media and financial crises. Routledge p. 203-214. 12 p.
Creating capitalism: joint-stock enterprise in British politics and culture, 1800-1870 (Paperback edition)
Taylor, J. 15/05/2014 Paperback ed. Woodbridge : Boydell Press. 266 p. ISBN: 9780861933235.
Privacy, publicity, and reputation: how the press regulated the market in nineteenth-century England
Taylor, J. 18/12/2013 In: Business History Review. 87, 4, p. 679-701. 23 p.
Why have no bankers gone to jail?
Taylor, J. 7/10/2013
Boardroom scandal: the criminalization of company fraud in nineteenth-century Britain
Taylor, J. 04/2013 Oxford : Oxford University Press. 312 p. ISBN: 978-0-19-969579-9.
Law, politics and the governance of English and Scottish joint-stock companies, 1600-1850
Freeman, M., Pearson, R., Taylor, J. 15/01/2013 In: Business History. 55, 4, p. 636-652. 17 p.
Watchdogs or apologists? Financial journalism and company fraud in early Victorian Britain
Taylor, J. 11/2012 In: Historical Research. 85, 230, p. 632-652. 21 p.
Review of periodical literature published in 2010: 1850-1945
Bradley, K., Taylor, J. 02/2012 In: Economic History Review. 65, 1, 14 p.
Shareholder democracies?: Corporate governance in Britain and Ireland before 1850
Freeman, M., Pearson, R., Taylor, J. 2012 Chicago : University of Chicago Press. 360 p. ISBN: 9780226261874.
Criminalising fraud: Victorian responses to company scandals
Taylor, J. 10/2011 In: Company Lawyer. 32, 10, p. 291-296. 6 p.
Review of periodical literature published in 2009: 1850-1945
Bradley, K., Taylor, J. 02/2011 In: Economic History Review. 64, 1, 10 p.
Numbers, character and trust in early Victorian Britain: the Independent West Middlesex Fire and Life Assurance Company fraud
Taylor, J. 2011 In: Statistics and the public sphere. Routledge p. 185-202 . 18 p.
Review of periodical literature published in 2008: 1850-1945
Bradley, K., Taylor, J. 02/2010 In: Economic History Review. 63, 1, 9 p.
Between Madam Bubble and Kitty Lorimer: women investors in British and Irish stock companies
Freeman, M., Pearson, R., Taylor, J. 2009 In: Women and their money, 1700-1950. Routledge p. 95-114. 20 p. ISBN: 9780415419765.
Taylor, J. 2008 In: The Victorian Literature Handbook. Continuum 3 p.
Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary
Technological change and the governance of joint-stock enterprise in the early nineteenth century: the case of Scottish coastal shipping
Freeman, M., Pearson, R., Taylor, J. 09/2007 In: Business History. 49, 5, p. 573-594. 22 p.
Company fraud in Victorian Britain: the Royal British Bank scandal of 1856
Taylor, J. 1/06/2007 In: English Historical Review. cxxii, 497, p. 700-724. 25 p.
"Different and better?" Scottish joint-stock companies and the law, c. 1720-1845
Freeman, M., Pearson, R., Taylor, J. 02/2007 In: English Historical Review. 122, 495, p. 61-81. 21 p.
"A doe in the city": women shareholders in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain
Freeman, M., Pearson, R., Taylor, J. 07/2006 In: Accounting, Business and Financial History. 16, 2, p. 265-291. 27 p.
Creating capitalism: joint-stock enterprise in British politics and culture, 1800-1870
Taylor, J. 2006 Woodbridge: Boydell Press. 256 p. ISBN: 0861932846.
History of the company: the development of the business corporation, 1700-1914, 8 vols
Pearson, R., Taylor, J., Freeman, M. 2006 London : Pickering and Chatto. 1744 p. ISBN: 1851968202 (vols. 1-4), 1851968210 (vols. 5-8).
Business in pictures: representations of railway enterprise in the satirical press in Britain 1845-1870
Taylor, J. 1/11/2005 In: Past and Present. 189, p. 111-145. 35 p.
Commercial fraud and public men in Victorian Britain
Taylor, J. 05/2005 In: Historical Research. 78, 200, p. 230-252. 23 p.
Office workers & YMCA
Taylor, J. 2004 In: The Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era. Grolier Academic Press
Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary
Public or private?
Taylor, J. 2004 In: Journal of Liberal History. 44, p. 30-34. 5 p.
The joint stock company in politics
Taylor, J. 2004 In: Reform and reformers in nineteenth-century Britain. Sunderland : University of Sunderland Press p. 99-116. 18 p. ISBN: 1873757948.
Greed: the way they lived then
Taylor, J. 12/2001 In: BBC History Magazine. 2, p. 40-42. 3 p.
Private property, public interest, and the role of the state in nineteenth-century Britain: the case of the lighthouses
Taylor, J. 1/09/2001 In: The Historical Journal. 44, 3, p. 749-771. 23 p.
History of Financial Advice
07/01/2016 → 06/01/2019
AHRC (External organisation)
Membership of committee