Dr Alan MacLeod

Dr Alan MacLeod

Lecturer in Modern British History.

+44 (0)113 34 32892

Summary: Twentieth century British history; history of the British intelligence services; the conflict in Northern Ireland; post-war British politics.

Location: Parkinson Building


A graduate of the University of Glasgow, I joined the University of Leeds in November 2012 as Research Fellow on the AHRC-funded 'Cultures of Intelligence' project.  In June 2015 I was appointed Teaching Fellow in Modern British History.

Research Interests


I am an historian of modern Britain (broadly conceived), with an emphasis on the post-1945 period.  My research to date has focussed on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, post-war British politics more generally, and, as Research Fellow at Leeds, on the development of the British intelligence services and the secret state.

Cultures of Intelligence

Since November 2012 I have been working on the major AHRC-funded 'Cultures of Intelligence' project.  The main aim of Cultures of Intelligence is to deepen our knowledge of the intelligence services in Britain in the mid-twentieth century.  It does so by going beyond the institutional history of particular intelligence services, and instead examines the nature of an overarching intelligence culture in Britain, as revealed within the intelligence community and more widely in the public sphere.

The project places Britain in comparative perspective through formal cooperation with our partner project, Kulturen der Intelligence, funded by the Gerda-Henkel Stiftung.

The aim of Cultures of Intelligence is to:

  • Investigate the discourse on military intelligence within the British intelligence community.
  • Investigate the practice of military intelligence within the British intelligence community.
  • Investigate the impact of two world wars on military intelligence.
  • Develop our understanding of the differences between British intelligence culture and practice and that of other nations.

Our main objective is to write a major study of Cultures of Intelligence in Britain, 1919-1947, which I am co-authoring with Professor Simon Ball.  We will also be producing a comparative volume with Kulturen der Intelligence, and disseminating our work to specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Northern Ireland

In addition to my work on British intelligence, I also research the conflict in Northern Ireland, focussing particularly on its international dimension.  My PhD examined the interactions of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and the United States over Northern Ireland in the early period of the Troubles.  I am currently preparing this for publication.


In the academic year 2015/16 I will be teaching the following courses:

The Modern World (HIST1210)

Britain, 1900-1945: The Burdens of Conflict (HIST2290)

Britain since 1945: Progress and Uncertainty (HIST2291)

Harold Wilson and the Meaning of Modern British Politics (HIST3722)

My previous teaching has included:

The International Dimension of the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland, 1968-1998 (HIST2800)

Secret Service: The World of British Intelligence (HIST3745)


Alan MacLeod, 'The Conservative Party and the Irish Question, c.1885-2010', in Bradley W. Hart and Richard Carr (eds), The Foundations of the British Conservative Party: Essays on Conservatism from Lord Salisbury to David Cameron (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), pp. 84-106.