Dr Kate Bradley

Reader in Social History/Policy,
Co-Deputy Director of the Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice
+44 (0)1634 888902
Dr Kate Bradley


Dr Bradley is a social and cultural historian of modern Britain whose research focuses on the shifting relationship between the individual and the state. She is interested in the ways in which civil society groups been involved in this process, in terms of calling for greater state involvement in welfare as well as supporting individuals in navigating this. Dr Bradley most recently explored this in her book on the development of legal advice and aid in England, Lawyers for the Poor (2019). This project examined the campaigning and hands-on pro bono legal advice provision of individual lawyers, political parties, trade unions, charities, the press, and community activist groups, in order to try to uphold the rights of the neediest. 

Dr Bradley joined SSPSSR in October 2007, having previously been an ESRC postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Contemporary British History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Prior to her academic career, Dr Bradley worked as a librarian and archivist in the voluntary sector.  

Research interests

Dr Bradley is currently working on aspects of managing access to state and voluntary welfare services through queuing and communication technologies in mid twentieth-century Britain, a project which has developed from her work on legal advice telephone helplines in the 1960s, explored in Lawyers for the Poor. She is also interested in experiences of East European resettlement in Britain after the Second World War. 

Dr Bradley has worked on a range of issues relating to the individual, the law and the state in modern Britain. She has worked on the development of the juvenile courts in England in the light of the Children Act 1908, and shifting approaches to tackling juvenile delinquency. She has also worked extensively on the settlement house movement, which was the focus of her PhD as well as her first book, Poverty, Philanthropy and the State: Charities and the Working Classes in London (2009). 


Dr Bradley teaches the following modules on the BSc Social Sciences and BA Criminal Justice & Criminology programmes, as well as contributing to others.

  • Understanding Contemporary Britain – SO343 
  • Welfare Histories, Welfare Futures – SO545 
  • Britain on Film – SO752 
  • Social Policy in Global Contexts – SO757 
  • People, Politics and Participation – SO714 
  • Crime and Punishment in England from 1750 to the Present – SO706  


Dr Kate Bradley welcomes applications and proposals for MPhil and PhD research in any of her research areas.


Think Kent lecture videos (YouTube)

Last updated