The University of Teesside provided John with sabbatical leave to further research John Grote but the project gained impetus in 1988 following a paper he presented on Grote at the Oxford Political Theory groups annual meeting. Bernard Crick suggested John moved to Cambridge and supported a successful approach to Wolfson College. While the President, David Williams and Fellows provided support John benefited from discussions, especially with Professor William (Bill) Lubenow. Professor Michael Redhead assisted John to become a Visiting Scholar in History and Philosophy of Science where he provided a paper which was engaged by Simon Schaffer amongst others. The Visiting Scholarship at Wolfson was assisted by the British Academy Thank Offering Award that continued form 1989-1992

During the residential period John revived his attempt to uncover the Grote MSS that were recorded and listed in the Introduction to Part Two of the posthumous Exploratio published by Cambridge University Press in 1900. John identified that a surviving relative of John Grote, Teresa Mayor had married the Apostle Lord Victor Rothschild. Chance had it that the garden of their Cambridge house in Herschel Road backed onto the garden of the house of Christopher and Frederike Jeans in whose house in Adams Road John was lodging. The Jeans family were embedded in Cambridge, Christopher’s father, the eminent physicist Sir James Jeans a Trinity Fellow had published numerous popular texts on the history of science. Christopher’s mother Susan Jeans was a musicologist, collector or organs and Brains Trust radio contributor.

A letter of 1988 led to John being invited by Lady Rothschild to visit Hereschel Road where boxes of papers had been brought from the family estates at Rushmore. The first chest opened contained the core of what is now the Grote Mss within the Mayor Papers

Here there were letters, diaries, albums of photographs to and from John Grote, his editor Joseph Mayor and members of the Grote, Mayor and Bickersteth families, including John’s famous brother George the eminent Historian of Greece.

A room was provided in the Herschel Road house where John worked for two years researching and archiving the papers, supported by the household staff and dinners most Friday with Lady Rothschild. In 1992 after the death of Lord Rothschild, John was asked to advise Lady Rothschild on the an appropriate archival location for the papers. After extensive visits John approached the Librarian at Trinity College, Professor David McKitterick and a subsequent agreement with owners was made to move the papers to the Wren Library in 1993. Trinity College on its part provided John with the title of Visiting Archivist, provided library accommodation and dining rights for two more years. The Senior Archivist at Trinity, Jon Smith worked with John and produced the catalogue now known as the Mayor Papers.

John began to work in related topics with fellow scholars who used the Wren Library. Jon Smith and Christopher Stray organised two conferences on Learning and Teaching in Mid Nineteenth Century and a book came out of this (Smith and Stray 2001; Gibbins 2001). CRASSH the new Centre for Research in Arts Social Sciences and Humanities were by now organizing state of the art seminars on the history of curriculum and the academy which let to John contributing to the Centenary volume for the British Academy in 2004 The Organisation of Knowledge (Daunton 2004; Gibbins 2004).

John’s move to Newcastle University to support their implementation of the Roberts agenda for researcher development slowed his work on Grote but with the help of colleagues, and the generosity of Keith Sutherland of Imprint Academic, he moved to the final stage of cutting and editing his four decades of work. The original mss of 240,000 words was reduced to 160,000 and it is this text that was published in 2007.

John Grote, Cambridge University and the Development of Victorian Thought, Imprint Academic, 2007