Harriet O'Neill

Harriet O'Neill


Personal profile



I am a research student currently undertaking a History MPhil, which I  am in the process of upgrading to a PhD.

I first studied at the University of Roehampton in 2010 where I gained a BA in History. During my time at Roehampton, I acquired a great interest in Early Modern History and was inspired to go onto further study. In 2013 I gained an MA in Early Modern History from Kings College London.

I have always been interested in history and always wanted to work with historical objects. 

Since graduating,  I spent 5 years volunteering in historical and heritage settings. This enabled me to gain experience in the cataloguing and storage of artefacts in the collection of Thomas Coram, Handel and Hogarth at The Foundling Museum.  As a volunteer in the Exhibitions Department at the V&A, I have helped to set up exhibitions such as ‘Revolutions’ and ‘Kipling’ and have gained experience in conservation techniques and in photography of museum objects for official documentation. At the IWM, I have been part of a team that organizes and manages a display of, and public interaction with, authentic military head gear.  I was also part of a team at the IWM that investigated the background of the people whose names were commemorated on War Memorials. Each of these projects has expanded knowledge of the topic.

I am passionate about building a career in curation in the history and heritage sector and I believe that my PhD will help me to achieve this. 


Research interests

My Phd focuses on an analysis of population by domicile of two broad but contrasting occupational groups, only one ostensibly bearing the designation ‘professional’ and therefore representing different status bands in the social hierarchy: namely, medical (physicians and barber-surgeons) and theatrical (actors and musicians). It will examine why members of each group, including migrants and immigrants (‘aliens’) took residence in particular parishes in the City of London between 1571-1605.

My work intends to build upon other historians  research and illustrate how through examining networks and communities we can identify why certain neighbourhoods or ‘communes’ of likeminded individuals developed in certain City parishes.

Many Early Modern historians have neglected to discuss settlement and those that have  dismiss its importance. In examining where a particular ‘professional’ settled, we can begin to understand their objectives and motivations, their associates and society.  The study of reasoning and motivation behind settlement is fundamental to understanding how London’s ‘professionals’ integrated into London life  and moved around the city.