I am an economic historian specialising in the history of British overseas trade circa 1700 to 1850. I am particularly interested in the connections between commerce, colonialism, and consumption through the study of chartered trading companies, commodities, merchants, and distribution. As Economic History Society Anniversary Fellow — a one-year postdoctoral position co-sponsored by the Economic History Society, Newcastle University, and the Institute of Historical Research (School of Advanced Study, University of London) — I am writing my first monograph on the subject of the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth-century British Atlantic fur trade: a publication that advances my doctoral thesis beyond the records of the Hudson’s Bay Company by using new research into Scottish-Canadian merchant papers undertaken in Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg over the summer of 2018. By locating the British fur trade within the wider ‘Atlantic World’, the book explores what this trade suggests about the institution of empire, the emergence of an integrated Atlantic economy, and the circulation of commodities in an era of protoglobalisation and burgeoning consumerism.

I joined Newcastle University in October 2016 as a Teacher in History after completing my doctorate at Northumbria University. I have taught widely on the history of Britain, Europe, the Americas, and world empires at Newcastle, Northumbria, and Teesside Universities.


Northumbria University, UK

2016          PhD, History

2012          MRes, History, Distinction

2011           BA (Hons), History, First Class

Blog Posts


    I am currently working on my first monograph that explores how indigenous peoples, merchants, manufacturers, shopkeepers, and consumers across and beyond the British Atlantic use fur as a source of wealth, warmth, and wonder. From the zenith of the British fur trade at the close of the eighteenth century through to its protracted decline in the early nineteenth century, millions of animal pelts were trapped and traded in North America and thence shipped across the Atlantic for sale in the global port of London. Intensive exploitation of fur pushed the rapid geographic expansion of the trade across North America in the late eighteenth century, and in the early nineteenth century, stimulated the extraction of new sources from South America and the islands and archipelagos of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans. Atlantic, imperial, and global in its scope, the book examines the diverse layers of exploitation the fur trade encompassed and by studying the entire commodity chain — from trap to trimming — situates the fur trade within the wider Atlantic economy, offering new insights into the organisation of overseas trade, the distribution and consumption of global luxuries, and the synergy between environment and empire.

    I am also preparing a journal article that analyses the consumer behaviour of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s servants as they worked in the sub-arctic climes of North America. These communities provide a novel case study of consumer demand, saving, and spending at the turn of the nineteenth century due to the extensive employment and transaction records in the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Archives. The article offers new evidence for the presence (and absence) of particular consumer goods across diverse income levels, occupations, and cultural backgrounds, as well as how metropolitan fashions and local customs coalesced on the imperial periphery.

    David Hope

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