Professor Peter Hennessy

Baron Hennessy of Nympsfield, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History

Location Arts Two 2.10


As journalist for over 20 years – with spells on The TimesThe Financial Times and The Economist – I unearthed the hidden wiring of the constitution and the power of the machinery of government in Britain.

Those themes remained at the heart of my research and teaching at Queen Mary when I moved from journalism to academia in 1992. Since then, it has been my aim to write the history of my own country, in my own times, for academic and public audiences alike.


My research interests range widely across all aspects of contemporary British History. I have concentrated in particular on:

  • Prime ministerial and Cabinet government
  • Whitehall and the hidden wiring of the British constitution
  • The Secret State and Cold War Britain
  • The Bomb
  • Nuclear submarines


Membership of professional associations or societies 

Appearances in the media

I have been a regular contributor to the press, radio and television throughout my career.

I began working as a radio journalist on BBC Radio 4’s Analysis and presented the programme from 1987 to 1992. Since then, I have written, commented on and presented numerous radio programmes and have been a guest editor of the Today programme.

I appear regularly on mainstream radio and television news and current affairs programmes.