Participant Info

First Name
Mary L.
Last Name
University of Roehampton, London
Website URL
Victorian, Regency, monarchy, radicalism, Dickens, London, art, theatre, race, disability, popular culture, fiction, cities, newspapers, Christmas, childhood, Navy
Additional Contact Information
University phone number: +44 (0)20 8392 3227

Personal Info

About Me
I research and write about Regency and Victorian popular culture, fiction, plays, images, and the press. I’m fascinated by the cultural world of nineteenth-century London and its teeming history: the places, the people, and the streets. My book on the 1820s African-American London busker Billy Waters, Billy Waters is Dancing: Or, How A Black Sailor Found Fame In Regency and Victorian Britain will be published by Yale in 2024. I speak on the Radio and TV about nineteenth-century culture and I do historical consultancy work.
Recent Publications

Billy Waters is Dancing: Or, How A Black Sailor Found Fame in Regency Britain (Yale UP, June 11 2024)

  • ‘Compassionately researched, Billy Waters is Dancingprovides a thrilling example of how much we still must learn about our pasts. Shannon creates a brilliant roadmap for the future of history writing.’

Ayanna Thompson, author of Blackface

  • ‘Dazzling! Read this book to discover the dramatic life and legacy of one indomitable man, among the delights and diversity of Regency London.’

Penelope J. Corfield, author of The Georgians

  • ‘How to atone for the great imbalances of history writing and representation, asks Shannon? Her answer is simple: produce the most sumptuous, intelligent, enjoyable excavation possible, and render the marginal magnificent!’

Oskar Jensen, author of Vagabonds

  • ‘This book is a powerful illumination of the life of one of the most influential Black people in nineteenth-century Victorian popular culture, a vital story that fell through the cracks in the rejuvenation era of individualised Black British history.’

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Member of Parliament for Streatham


Winner, 2016 international Robert and Vineta Colby Scholarly Book Prize; Shortlisted, 2017 University English Early-Career Book Prize:

Dickens, Reynolds and Mayhew on Wellington Street: The Print Culture of a Victorian Street (Farnham: Ashgate/Routledge 2015) [90,000 words]

  • ‘a brilliant piece of historical detective work and a genuine pleasure to read’

Robert Douglas Fairhurst


Media Coverage
TV and Radio credits: BBC R3 'Busking and Billy waters'; BBC 2 'Villages by the Sea'; BBC Radio Coventry; BBC Radio Bristol; BBC Radio Ulster
Country Focus
United Kingdom
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, North America, United Kingdom
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
Art & Architectural History, Book History, Children & Youth, Colonialism, Disability, Higher Ed, Libraries & Archives, Literary History, Material Culture, Migration & Immigration, Military, Pedagogy, Public History, Race, Rebellion & Revolution, Slavery, Urban History