School of History


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Dr Don Leggett

Research Associate

History (Rutherford E3.W1)

Don Leggett is a historian who specialises in British cultural history with special focus on science and technology.

Dr Don Leggett works on British cultural history, with special focus on science and technology. He also has a secondary interest in the Royal Navy and identity politics in the long nineteenth century.

Dr Leggett holds degrees from Cambridge University and the University of Kent, where he completed his Ph.D. in 2010. His work has been supported by the AHRC and fellowships from the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress (2008) as a British Council fellow, the National Maritime Museum (2009) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2012) as a Velde fellow. He is the also the winner of two international awards: the Singer Prize of the British Society for the History of Science (2010), which is awarded every two years for an article submission from an early career researcher, and the Young Scholar Prize of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (2013), which is awarded every four years for an outstanding PhD thesis on the history of science.

In 2014 Dr Leggett's first monograph, Shaping the Royal Navy: naval architecture, authority and the ship, c.1831-1906, will be published by Manchester University Press. He is also the editor (with Richard Dunn of the National Maritime Museum) of an edited volume, Re-Inventing the Ship: Science, Technology and the Maritime World, 1800-1914 (Ashgate, 2012), which explores contexts of and responses to the material transformation of the ship. He is also editing (with Dr James Davey) a special edition of the Journal for Maritime Research on expertise and authority in the nineteenth-century Navy.

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Chapters in Books


  • ‘Introduction: expertise, authority and the navy’ [with James Davey], Journal of Maritime Research (forthcoming May 2014)
  • ‘Settling Expertise: Naval Architecture and British Admiralty, 1885-1918’, Journal of Maritime Research (forthcoming May 2014)
  • ‘William Froude, John Henry Newman and scientific practice in the culture of Victorian doubt’, English Historical Review 128 (2013): 571-595.
  • ‘Replication, re-placing and naval science in comparative context, c.1868-1903’, British Journal for the History of Science 46 (2013): 1-21.
  • ‘Navy, nation and identity in the long nineteenth century’, Journal of Maritime Research 13 (2011), 151-163.
  • ‘Spectacle and witnessing: constructing readings of Parsons' marine turbine’, Technology & Culture 52 (2011): 287-309.


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  • Publicity Officer of the British Society for the History of Science
  • Member of the Society for the History of Technology
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School of History, Rutherford College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

T: +44 (0)1227 823710 or E:

Last Updated: 24/03/2014