Dr Jill Pellew, MA (Oxon), MA (London), PhD (London)

The role of private patronage and philanthropy in the history of British universities

Jill Pellew’s doctoral and post-doctoral field of historical study was the 19th and early 20th century history of the British civil service, in particular, the Home Office.  Having worked as an administrative grade Whitehall civil servant, she lived abroad a good deal as the wife of a British diplomat, teaching history and political science at the Universities of Saigon, Sussex and the American University, Washington DC.  In the 1980s she worked as Executive Secretary of the (American) Chatham House Foundation.  From 1990 to 2006 she worked as a professional university fundraiser, her posts including Director of Development at Imperial College and Director of the Development Office, University of Oxford.  She has been a senior research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research since 2009.  She is also a Trustee of the IHR.



  • The Home Office, 1848-1914: from clerks to bureaucrats (Heinemann/Farleigh Dickinson, 1982)
  • Dethroning Historical Reputations: universities, museums and the commemoration of benefactors (Institute of Historical Research, University of London, 2018; co-edited with Lawrence Goldman)

Articles in historical publications include:

  • ‘The Home Office and the Explosives Act, 1976’, Victorian Studies, 1974 (2) XVIII, pp.175-194
  • ‘The spoils system and the concept of merit in the American civil service’, The Merit system (International Institute of Administrative Sciences, Brussels), 1987, pp.69-75.
  • ‘Practitioners versus theorists: early attitudes of British higher civil servants towards their profession’, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 1983, XLIX, pp.3-12.
  • ‘Expertise in the Victorian Home Office’, in Roy MacLeod (ed), Government and Expertise: specialists, administrators and professionals, 1860-1919 (CUP, 1988)
  • ‘The Home Office and the Aliens Act, 1905’, Historical Journal, 1989, 32(2), pp.369-85.
  • ‘New philanthropists of the Tudor period’, in David Cannadine, History and Philanthropy: Past, Present and Future (IHR, 2008)
  • ‘A metropolitan university fit for Empire: the role of private benefaction in the early history of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Imperial College of Science and Technology, 1895-1930’, History of Universities, 2012, IIVI/1, pp.202-45.

Contributions to IHR conferences

  • 2014 Co-convenor (with Prof Miles Taylor): ‘Utopian Universities: a 50-year perspective’.
  • 2017 Co-convenor (with Prof Lawrence Goldman): ‘History, Heritage and Ideology: universities, museums and the commemoration of benefactors’.