Humanists UK announces new patron Simon Skinner

22 February, 2023

Humanists UK is delighted to announce the appointment of its newest patron, historian Professor Simon Skinner. Simon joins a stable of 200 Humanists UK patrons with notable careers in the arts, science, academia, politics, and community and civic activism.

Simon is an expert in modern British history, teaching at the University of Oxford for over three decades, winning multiple teaching prizes and educating a number of figures in British public life, from MPs to media historians. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, has appeared on BBC Radio Four’s In Our Time and BBC Two’s Timewatch, and written for the London Review of Books and Times Higher Education. His interests lie in nineteenth-century British political and religious history, and he is currently working on a book on the recreational and intellectual worlds of Robert Peel.

His writing on British religion has sought to marry an imaginative recovery of the importance of faith as a causal factor in human affairs, to a rigour and a sensitivity to context which problematises the confessional bent of much religious history; his commentary on the theme of ‘history versus hagiography’ is widely used in historical methods teaching in UK universities.

Simon joins Humanists UK with a keen interest in its Humanist Heritage project and will support its work using his expertise in British religious history.

Commenting on Simon’s appointment, Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:

‘We’re delighted to welcome Simon Skinner as our latest patron. His expertise in British religious history – together with his enthusiasm for our work – will be invaluable to our Humanist Heritage project. We are excited to work with him!’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

Humanists UK has 200 patrons who support its work in various ways through their expertise and prominence in various fields. Existing patrons include significant figures from the spheres of science, philosophy, human rights activism, politics, the arts, and broadcasting. The President of Humanists UK is the geneticist, science writer, and broadcaster, Dr Adam Rutherford. He is supported by Vice Presidents Professor Alice Roberts, Shaparak Khorsandi, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor AC Grayling, and Polly Toynbee.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.