Professor of Economic History, University of Nottingham, and outstanding regional historian. His research interests were centred on population, agriculture, and industry from the late 17th century to the mid‐19th century. Much of his evidence was taken from his native Nottinghamshire. (He was the younger brother of Jessie Chambers, the friend of D. H. Lawrence.) His work on Nottinghamshire led to the publication of Nottinghamshire in the Eighteenth Century (1932) and The Vale of Trent, 1670–1800: A Regional Study of Economic Change (1957), a pioneering analysis of demographic evidence from parish registers. This interest culminated in the writing of Population, Economy and Society in Pre‐Industrial England (1972).
David Chambers's farming background led him to consider the effects of †population and parliamentary enclosure on the rural economy in ‘Enclosure and Labour Supply in the Industrial Revolution’, Economic History Review, 2nd ser., 5/3 (1953). This famous article challenged the views of the Hammonds on the social effects of enclosure. He went on to join G. E. Mingay in writing The Agricultural Revolution, 1750–1880 (1966).