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History Trust Funds

We are the trustee of over 100 trust funds, used to support academic activities at our member institutions, the School of Advanced Study and Senate House Library. ​


Senate house library interior details
The University of London - History Trust Funds.

The trust funds were established following generous donations from supporters. Some are almost as old as the University itself, dating back to the 1850s, while many others have been created since 2000. Please find details of our History Trust Funds below.

Trust Funds

The Biggar Bequest was established following a donation from Mr H. P. H. Biggar in 1941 of funds raised by his father, Dr H.P. Biggar. In 1926 Dr Biggar had begun collecting money for the establishment of a lectureship in Canadian History, which he began collecting for in 1926. Unable to raise sufficient funds, in 1931 Dr Biggar had altered his wishes and after consulting with the University decided instead that the money should be used to purchase books in Canadian History for the Institute of Historical Research’s library. The fund continues to be used for this purpose.

In 1959 the University received a donation to promote the study of the history of the Commonwealth. In response the University created the Henry Charles Chapman Junior Research Fellowships, which are awarded every other year by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

The Sir Julian Corbett Prize was established from a gift by Mr H. E. Corbett in memory of his brother, a naval historian and strategist.  The prize is awarded annually to recognise original research in the area of modern naval history and is based at the Institute of Historical Research.

The award is advertised on the IHR website and further details, including the award guidelines and how to apply.

The first Creighton Lecture took place in 1907 and was hosted by King’s College London. The lecture is a memorial to Dr Mandall Creighton (1843 – 1901), a historian and Bishop of the Church of England. The annual history lecture was established following the donation, half of which was from his widow, Louise Creighton.

The lecture was held at King’s College London until 2007 and speakers included many notable historians, including: Herbert Fisher, Eric Hobsbawm, Lillian Penson and G.M. Trevelyan.

Since 2011 the Research Promotion and Facilitation Committee at the School of Advanced Study has been responsible for the annual Creighton Lecture and it is now hosted by the Institute of Historical Research.

The Ehrenberg Prize was established in 1978 following the bequest of Professor V. L. Ehrenberg, of Bedford College (a founding college of Royal Holloway, University of London) to the Institute of Classical Studies. The trust fund supports the George Grote Prize in Ancient History, in line with the wishes of Professor Ehrenberg. Alongside a donation of money to fund the prize, Professor Ehrenberg also bequeathed his collection of Greek and Roman antiques to the Institute.

The George Grote Prize, named in honour of the historian whose major work was his History of Greece, is awarded annually by the Institute of Classical Studies for an original and hitherto unpublished study on a topic in ancient history, preferably Greek or Hellenistic history.

Entries are judged by the George Grote Prize Committee, whose membership comprises teachers of ancient history within the University of London.

The Frankfort Fund was established following an endowment from Mrs Enriqueta Frankfort in memory of her husband Professor Henri Frankfort, who was Director of the Institute from 1949 to 1954. The endowment is used to fund the Henri Frankfort Fellowship, for the study of the intellectual and cultural history of the ancient Near East, at the Warburg Institute.

Professor Dame Lillian Penson was Vice-Chancellor of the University of London between 1948 and 1951; becoming not only the University’s first female Vice-Chancellor but also the first woman to hold such a post at any British University.

Dame Lillian had a long association with the University; first attending Birkbeck College before attaining both a Bachelor of Arts (History) in 1917 and a PhD in 1921 at University College London. She became a full Professor of History at the age of just 34 and was a member of the University Senate for 20 years before also serving as a member of the University Court. Professor Penson served as Professor of Modern History at Bedford College from 1930 to 1962, before becoming Professor Emeritus. She also held academic positions at Birkbeck College and Queen Mary College.

In commemoration of her important role in its history, the University of London named one of its intercollegiate halls after her, the Lillian Penson Hall. In addition, the Professor Dame Lillian Penson Memorial Fund was established in 1966. The trust fund provides travel grants for students of the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

The Alan Pearsall Bequest was established in 2007 after Mr Pearsall, a historian and curator at the National Maritime Museum, left a legacy to the University of London to support the study of maritime history. The fund has been used through the Institute of Historical Research, which has hosted a Pearsall Fellowship in Naval and Maritime History since 2008.

The Institute of Historical Research offers the 12-month postdoctoral Pearsall Fellowship in Naval and Maritime History. Pearsall Fellows may conduct research on any aspect of Naval and Maritime History, from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West up to the present day.

The Trevor Reese Memorial Prize was established by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in 1979. The prize commemorates Dr Trevor Reese, a distinguished scholar of Australian and Commonwealth history, who was Reader in Imperial Studies at the Institute until his death in 1976.

The Prize, which is worth £1,000, is awarded every three years to the author of a work which has made a wide-ranging, innovative and scholarly contribution in the broadly-defined field of Imperial and Commonwealth History.  The most recent call for nominations was in 2016.

The Albin Salton Bequest funds the Albin Salton Fellowship, based at the Warburg Institute. The donor, Mr Albin Salton, was a managing director in business who had interests in travel and in art and antiques.  The Fellowship is awarded annually and enables a career scholar to spend two months pursuing research into cultural contacts between Europe, the East, and the New World in the late medieval, Renaissance and early modern periods.

The Daniel Stevenson Chair in International History was established in 1925 and was for a research professorship to be at the London School of Economics and the Royal Institute of International Affairs ('Chatham House'), where until 1956 the holder of the professorship was Director of Studies.  The LSE continues to host the Chair: the Stevenson Professor of International History.

The Isobel Thornley Bequest commemorates Miss Isobel Thornley who was a Recognised Teacher of the University in the Faculty of History at UCL, and who died in an air raid on London during the Second World War. The fund’s purpose is laid out in Miss Thornley’s will: “for the encouragement of postgraduate study and research, in history, in the University by means of scholarships, or such other means.”

Since its establishment the fund has made grants to support historians by enabling the publication of works that would otherwise not be published. Applications are open to any historian who is either a graduate of the University of London or an academic working at one of its history departments, with a preference given to young scholars at the beginning of their careers. The awarding of grants to support publications is made by the Thornley Committee, comprised of academics from history departments within the federal University of London.

In recent years the fund has also supported a Thornley Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research. The fellowship is open to candidates registered for a PhD at the University of London.

Thornley publication grants

How to apply:

Please contact Dr Hannah Platts to discuss an application.

To apply you will need to provide an outline budget showing how your grant would be used.

You should also arrange for two references to be sent directly to Dr Burgess.

The Committee meets to consider applications each June: completed applications must be received by 31 May.

Recipients of a grant from the Thornley Fund are required to acknowledge this by stating in the preface or other appropriate place within the work that it has been published ‘with the help of a grant from the late Miss Isobel Thornley’s Bequest to the University of London.’

On publication, one copy of your item must be sent, free of charge, to each of Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research.