Alexander Prize


The Alexander Prize is awarded for an essay or article based on original historical research, by a doctoral candidate or those recently awarded their doctorate, published in a journal or an edited collection of essays.

The Prize was endowed in 1897 by L.C. Alexander, Secretary of the Society at its foundation in 1868 and a Life Member from 1870. The original endowment offered ‘to provide yearly a Gold Medal to be called The Alexander Medal’. The gold medal was later changed to a silver medal and now the successful candidate is awarded a prize of £250.

Winners are invited to submit another paper to the Editors of the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society within nine months of the award, with a view to publication in the Society’s journal.

Alexander Prize Winners and Runner-Up, 2022

Congratulations to Dr Tamara Fernando and Dr Anna McKay who are the joint winners of this year’s Alexander Prize. Tamara’s article, ‘“Seeing Like the Sea”: A Multispecies History of the Ceylon Pearl Fishery, 1800-1925’ — published in Past and Present (February 2021) — was praised by the judging panel as:

An innovative, subtle, and engaging article that brings together Tamil voices, colonial archives, environmental history, and postcolonial methodology with panache.

Anna’s article, ‘”Allowed to Die?” Prison Hulks, Convict Corpses and the Enquiry of 1847’ — which appears in Cultural and Social History (May 2021) — was described as:

Compelling and historically rigorous, challenging, shocking and deeply moving … offering a penetrating insight into how marginalised individuals were regarded in life and death.

Congratulations also to the 2022 Runner-Up, Jon Winder, for his article, ‘Revisiting the Playground: Charles Wicksteed, Play Equipment and Public Spaces for Children in Early Twentieth-Century Britain’, published un Urban History (October 2021).

Details of all recipients and runners-up for the 2022 Prizes and Awards are available here.

How to enter the Alexander Prize, 2023

  • Candidates must be doctoral students in a historical subject in a UK institution, or be within two years of having a submitted a corrected thesis in a historical subject in a UK institution at the time of the closing date for entries.
  • An electronic copy of the publisher’s version the article or essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.
  • The article or essay must have been published in a journal or edited collection during the calendar year 2022 (for the 2023 prize round). Advanced access publisher versions are also eligible, but an item cannot be entered more than once in subsequent years
  • An electronic copy of the publisher’s version the article or essay will need to be uploaded to the entry form.

Timetable for submissions

  • Submissions for the 2023 Prize open: 1 September 2022. All submissions are via the RHS Prize Applications Portal.
  • Closing date for entries for the 2023 Prize: 31 December 2022.

All enquiries about the Prize should be addressed to the RHS. Please contact the Membership and Administration Officer at:


A list of all the past Alexander Prize winners is available here.