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Convenor, MA in Public History

HIS2011 Politics and Society in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

HIS2012 Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century Ireland

HIS3123 The Irish Country House and its Audiences

MHY7077 & MHY7091 Public History Internships

MHY7089  History and its Audiences


Research Interests

Dr Olwen Purdue specialises in the social and economic history of nineteenth and twentieth-century Ireland. Her research focuses on poverty, welfare and public health in the industrial city - she is currently working on the history of child welfare under the Irish Poor Law, exploring how its systems and processes reponded to the challenges of the rapidly-growing city of Belfast, and how poor families engaged with and experienced these processes. She has also worked on the history of landed estates in the north of Ireland from the end of the Famine until the onset of the Northern Troubles

Dr Purdue is also actively engaged in research and teaching in Public History, something she has been instrumental in introducing to Queen's University. She is founder and Director of the Centre for Public History, and of the MA in Public History. She works closely with the cultural and heritage sectors across Northern Ireland in research, teaching and public engagement. She was specialist historical advisor for Titanic Belfast and a member of the advisory group for the Ulster Museum's Irish history exhibition and its Troubles and Beyond gallery. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Irish Museums Association.

Dr Purdue is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, member of the Royal Historical Society's Public History Prize panel and judge for the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland's Medical Humanities Award. She is international editor for the Public Historian journal and series editor of Liverpool University Press's Nineteenth-Century Ireland series. She is President of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth Century Ireland.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Olwen Purdue is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 9 Similar Profiles
workhouse Social Sciences
welfare Social Sciences
poor law Social Sciences
textile industry Social Sciences
employment opportunity Social Sciences
industrialization Social Sciences
Ireland Social Sciences
nineteenth century Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2011 2019

R2317HIS: 'Heritage Connects'

Purdue, O. & Hannan, L.

27/06/2016 → …

Project: Research

R1047HIS: Welfare and public health in Belfast and the north of Ireland 1800 -1973

Gray, P., Atcheson, R., Laragy, G., Lucey, S., Purdue, O. & Purdue, O.


Project: Research

Public Health
Northern Ireland

Selected Research Output 2005 2018

‘A Gigantic System of Casual Pauperism’: the Contested Role of the Workhouse in Late Nineteenth-Century Belfast

Purdue, O., May 2014, The Welfare State and the 'Deviant Poor' in Europe, 1870-1933. Althammer, B., Gestrich, A. & Gründler, J. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 42-57 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Belfast, the emerging city: 1850-1914

Purdue, O. (ed.), Nov 2012, Dublin: Irish Academic Press. 304 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Poverty and power: the Irish Poor Law in a north Antrim town 1861-1921

Purdue, O., Nov 2011, In : Irish Historical Studies. 37, 148, p. 567-583 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Poor Law
Poor Relief
Local Politics


Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Olwen Purdue (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Election to learned society

Irish Studies Fellowship

Olwen Purdue (Recipient), 2009

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Irish Studies

QUB Teaching Award

Olwen Purdue (Recipient), 03 Jul 2013

Prize: Other distinction

Public History

Senior Research Fellowship

Olwen Purdue (Recipient), 2015

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively


Vice Chancellor's Prize for Research Impact (shortlisted)

Olwen Purdue (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Selected Activities 2009 2019

External examiner, PhD Thesis

Olwen Purdue (Examiner)
13 May 2013

Activity: Examination typesPhD external examination

External examiner for PhD thesis

Olwen Purdue (Examiner)
10 Jan 2014

Activity: Examination typesPhD external examination

Historical Consultant for Ulster Rugby Museum

Olwen Purdue (Advisor)

Activity: Consultancy typesKTP & Consultancy in kind

Research Seminar Paper, Boston College

Olwen Purdue (Invited speaker)
Sep 2013

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Keynote Lecture

Olwen Purdue (Keynote speaker)
Sep 2013

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Keynote Lecture

Olwen Purdue (Keynote speaker)
Jun 2013

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Paper to the German Historical Institute, London

Olwen Purdue (Invited speaker)
Feb 2010

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media

Belfast: Britain's most Victorian Town

Olwen Purdue


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Elite Women and Material Culture in Ireland, 1770-1840

Author: Thorpe, R., 05 Jul 2018

Supervisor: O'Dowd, M. (Supervisor) & Purdue, O. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy