Tristram Julian William Hunt FRHistS (born 31 May 1974) is a British
historian, broadcast journalist and former Labour Party politician who
served as the
Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central from
2010 to 2017. In January 2017 he announced he would leave the House of
Commons in order to take up the post of director of the Victoria and
Albert Museum in London.
Hunt is a lecturer in modern British History at Queen Mary University
of London. He has written several books and presented history
programmes on television. He is a regular writer for
The Guardian and
1 Early life and education
2 Career as a historian
3 Political career
3.1 Political views
4 Personal life
7 External links
Early life and education
Hunt was born in Cambridge, the son of Julian Hunt, a meteorologist
and leader of the Labour Party group on
Cambridge City Council in
1972–73, who in 2000 was awarded a life peerage as Baron Hunt of
Tristram Hunt was educated at University College
School, an independent school in London, where he achieved two As
(History and Latin) and a B (English Literature) at A-Level. He took a
First in History at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1995.
He later attended the University of Chicago, and was for a time an
Associate Fellow of the Centre for History and Economics at King's
College, Cambridge. He undertook postgraduate study at the University
Cambridge and completed his
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in
2000. His thesis was titled Civic thought in Britain, c.1820–c.1860.
Cambridge he was a member of the Footlights, where he was a
contemporary of David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
Career as a historian
Hunt was a Fellow of the
Institute for Public Policy Research and sits
on the board of the
New Local Government Network (2004). He has made
many appearances on television, presenting programmes on the English
Civil War (2002), the theories of Sir
Isaac Newton (Great Britons,
2002), and the rise of the middle class, and makes regular
BBC Radio 4, having presented broadcasts on such topics
as the history of the signature. His first book was The English Civil
War: At First Hand (2002, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
His specialism is urban history, specifically during the Victorian
era, and it is this subject which provided him with his second book,
Building Jerusalem (2004, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
ISBN 0297607677). This book, covering such notable Victorian
minds as John Ruskin,
Joseph Chamberlain and Thomas Carlyle, received
many favourable reviews but some criticism, notably a scathing review
The Times Literary Supplement by
J. Mordaunt Crook ('The Future was
Bromley', TLS, 13 August 2004).
Hunt wrote Making our Mark, a publication celebrating CPRE's eightieth
anniversary, in 2006. He then completed a
BBC series entitled The
Protestant Revolution, examining the influence of
British and international attitudes to work and leisure for broadcast
BBC Four. In 2007 Hunt was a judge for the Samuel Johnson
Prize, the winner being
Imperial Life in the Emerald City
Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv
Hunt wrote a biography of Friedrich Engels, The Frock-Coated
Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, which was
published in May 2009 by Penguin Books. For the book, Hunt researched
at German and Russian libraries and begins with an account of the
author's own trip to Engels in Russia. The biography received a number
of favourable reviews, including one from Roy Hattersley, the former
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, in The Observer.
On 18 May 2013, Dr Hunt delivered his lecture 'Aristocracy and
Industry: the Sutherlands in Staffordshire'  at The Marc Fitch
Hunt's book Ten Cities That Made an Empire was published by Allen Lane
A member of the Labour Party, Hunt supported the party as an activist
for several years before working on the party's staff. Hunt worked for
the Labour Party at
Millbank Tower during the 1997 general election;
he also worked at the party headquarters during the following 2001
general election. During the 2005 general election he campaigned for
Oona King in Bethnal Green and Bow.
Hunt twice submitted his name unsuccessfully for selection as a Labour
parliamentary candidate: Liverpool West Derby, where
Stephen Twigg was
selected (2007), and Leyton and Wanstead, where
John Cryer was
Hunt was selected to contest the constituency of Stoke-on-Trent
Central on 1 April 2010, succeeding Labour's outgoing MP, Mark
Fisher. Because the candidacy was filled just before the
election, the shortlist was drawn up by Labour's ruling National
Executive Committee selection panel, with none on the shortlist local
to Stoke-on-Trent. This led to the secretary of the Constituency
Labour Party, Gary Elsby, standing against Hunt as an independent
candidate in protest. Despite the controversy of being
"parachuted in" to the district, Hunt was elected with 38.8% of the
vote. Although the election was the constituency's closest-fought
contest in decades, Hunt still had a majority of 5,566 over his
Hunt was appointed a Shadow Education Minister in April 2013,
Karen Buck who advanced as Parliamentary Private Secretary
to Ed Miliband. On 7 October 2013, Hunt was promoted to the Shadow
Stephen Twigg as Shadow Secretary of State for
In February 2014, Hunt crossed an authorised University and College
Union picket line at
Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London to teach his
students about "Marx, Engels and the Making of Marxism", defending
himself on the grounds that although he was not a member of the union,
he supported the right to strike and picket by those who had been
balloted. He was strongly criticised by West Bromwich East MP Tom
Watson, who described Hunt's behaviour as "preposterous".
Hunt was re-elected in May 2015 with a majority of 5,179. On 12
September 2015, it became known he was leaving the shadow cabinet
following Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader because of their
"substantial political differences", as Hunt told the Press
On 13 January 2017, he announced that he would be resigning as an MP
in order to take up a post as Director of the Victoria and Albert
Museum in London. He formally resigned, taking the post of Steward
of the Chiltern Hundreds, on 23 January 2017. His successor as MP,
Gareth Snell, retained the seat for Labour in the subsequent
by-election on 23 February 2017.
Hunt was formerly a trustee of the
Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund and has a
column with the British Sunday paper The Observer. He wrote an essay
New Statesman comparing Cromwell's Republic to the Islamic
fundamentalism dominant in
Afghanistan at that time (2001).
Speaking of his constituency, Hunt said that "The key to helping
manufacturing is investing in education and schools and also selling
Stoke nationally and internationally as a place to invest." He
also criticised the local council's decision "to try to obliterate the
past out and sort of 'cleanse', removing the old bottle ovens and
other relics". He instead believed that the city's reputation as a
quality pottery maker should be exploited. He has also stated he
could better serve his constituency were he to become a Government
Hunt was accused in February 2015 of implying, in a
BBC Question Time
discussion on teachers without qualifications, that nuns do not make
good teachers. His comments were criticised by Conservative MPs and by
the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Hunt stated that he
did not mean to cause offence to nuns.
In 2014 Hunt proposed that private schools should be required to form
"partnerships" with local state schools if they wanted to keep their
Hunt is married to Juliet Thornback with whom he has one son and two
daughters; they live in London.
The English Civil War: At First Hand (2002, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
Building Jerusalem (2004, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (Introduction
by Tristram Hunt) (2004, Penguin Modern Classics,
The Frock-Coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels
(2009, ISBN 0713998520) (US title: Marx's General: The
Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, ISBN 9780805080254)
Ten Cities That Made an Empire (2014) (US title: Cities of Empire: The
British Colonies and the Creation of the Urban World, Metropolitan
Books, ISBN 9780805093087)
^ a b Stewart, Heather (13 January 2017). "
Tristram Hunt to quit as MP
to become V&A director". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
Retrieved 13 January 2017.
^ "Dr Tristram Hunt". qmul.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
^ "Tristram Hunt". BBC. 21 March 2007. Archived from the original on
30 June 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
^ Peerage creations since 1997 House of Lords: Library Note
^ http://home-labourclp228.nationbuilder.com/bio[permanent dead link].
^ Great Britons on IMDb
^ BBC, The Protestant Revolution.
^ "Judges of the
Samuel Johnson Prize
Samuel Johnson Prize 2007".
BBC Four. Archived from
the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
Roy Hattersley (26 April 2009). "A communist and a gentleman". The
Observer. The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 June
^ "Launch of Staffordshire Volume XI – Victoria County History".
Retrieved 16 May 2017.
^ Nick Coligan (18 September 2007). "
Stephen Twigg ends career of
another political stalwart". Liverpool Echo. Archived from the
original on 30 June 2009.
^ Claire Hack (26 February 2010). "Leyton/Wanstead: Labour candidate
announcement expected tomorrow". East London and West Essex Guardian.
Archived from the original on 30 June 2009.
^ Michael Crick (19 March 2010). "The battle for Stoke-on-Trent
BBC blog. Archived from the original on 30 June
Tristram Hunt picked to represent Labour in election".
BBC News. 1
April 2010. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 1
^ Roland Watson (2 April 2010). "Grassroots revolt as Labour
Tristram Hunt into Stoke seat". The Times. London.
Retrieved 2 April 2010.
^ "Labour secretary to stand against party in Stoke".
BBC News. 2
April 2010. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 8
^ "Elections 2010:
Tristram Hunt wins Stoke-on-Trent Central seat".
The Sentinel. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009.
Retrieved 8 May 2010.
BBC News –
Tristram Hunt defends crossing picket line for
BBC Online. BBC. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 5
^ Eaton, George (11 February 2014). "Tom Watson attacks Tristram Hunt
for crossing a picket line". New Statesman. Retrieved 5 September
Tristram Hunt MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 2015-06-03.
^ "Hunt leaves frontbench as Corbyn elected Labour leader". ITV News.
12 September 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
^ "Three Hundreds of Chiltern: Tristram Hunt". HM Treasury. 23 January
2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
^ "Tories in historic by-election Copeland win as Labour holds Stoke".
BBC News. 25 February 2017.
Tristram Hunt (17 December 2001). "Britain's very own Taliban". New
Statesman. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009.
^ "Stoke-on-Trent 'needs government help'".
BBC News. 17 April 2010.
Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 8 May
^ a b c Parkinson, Justin (8 February 2011). "Historian Tristram Hunt
on switching to life as an MP".
BBC News. Archived from the original
on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
BBC News – Tristram Hunt: 'No offence' meant to nuns in TV
BBC News. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
^ Hunt, Tristram (24 November 2014). "Private schools have done too
little for too long". Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
Contributions in Parliament at
Voting record at Public Whip
Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
Article archive at The Guardian
Tristram Hunt on IMDb
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Member of Parliament
for Stoke-on-Trent Central
Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Directors of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Henry Cole (1852)
Philip Cunliffe-Owen (1874)
John Henry Middleton
John Henry Middleton (1893)
Caspar Purdon Clarke
Caspar Purdon Clarke (1896)
Arthur Banks Skinner
Arthur Banks Skinner (1905)
Cecil Harcourt Smith
Cecil Harcourt Smith (1909)
Eric Maclagan (1924)
Leigh Ashton (1945)
Trenchard Cox (1956)
John Pope-Hennessy (1967)
Roy Strong (1973)
Elizabeth Esteve-Coll (1987)
Alan Borg (1995)
Mark Jones (2001)
Martin Roth (2011)
Tristram Hunt (2017)
Miliband Shadow Cabinet
Shadow cabinet members
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Gloria De Piero
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Also attended meetings
Lord Wood of Anfield
Labour Party MPs in the West Midlands
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