Portrait of Dr Kate Bradley

Dr Kate Bradley

Deputy Head of School for Medway
Senior Lecturer in Social History/Policy


Dr Kate Bradley completed her PhD, which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, at the Centre for Contemporary British History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London. She studied for her MA in Twentieth Century Literature and her BA in English and History at Goldsmiths, University of London. 

Kate joined SSPSSR in October 2007, having been an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary British History at the Institute of Historical Research. 

Before becoming an academic Kate worked in the voluntary and public sectors.   

Research interests

Dr Kate Bradley’s research interests lie within the field of British social history from 1918 to the present. Kate’s interests centre on the shifting relationship between individuals and the state, which she has explored in work on the development of voluntary and statutory provision of legal advice and aid, the growth of the juvenile courts after 1908, and the settlement house movement in London from 1918 to 1979. She is also interested in issues around social justice, philanthropy, and technology and civil society. 


Dr Bradley mainly teaches on the undergraduate BSc in Social Sciences and BA in Criminal Justice and Criminology.


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


Think Kent lecture videos (YouTube)



  • Bradley, K. (2017). Saving the Children of Shoreditch: Lady Cynthia Colville and needy families in East London, c.1900-1960. Law, Crime and History [Online] 7:145-163. Available at: http://www.lawcrimehistory.org/journal/vol.7%20issue1%202017/Kate%20Bradley%20LCH%20Article.pdf.
    This article approaches the question of the ‘child at risk’ through the case of an elite individual who became involved in infant welfare and the juvenile courts: Lady Cynthia Colville. Colville entered into voluntary social work as an activity ‘appropriate’ for a woman of her standing. With her appointment as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary, the already very well-connected Colville had unrivalled access to the Royal Household for promoting the interests of her charities. The case of Colville provides a point of intersection for the historiographies on gender, class, welfare, and crime, and fresh insight into the relationship between ‘innovation’ in social work and the established social order.
  • Bradley, K. (2014). ‘All human life is there’: the John Hilton Bureau of the News of the World and access to free legal advice, c.1938-1973. English Historical Review [Online] 129:888-911. Available at: http://ehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/129/539/888.
    This article considers the role of the John Hilton Bureau newspaper advice service, which ran under the auspices of the News of the World between 1942 and the late 1960s. The Bureau merits attention from historians on account of the light it can shed on how ordinary Britons accessed the law and legal advice before and after the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949. It also provides insight into how relationships between the state and individual differed between a highly-regulated wartime state and the supposedly affluent, consumerist welfare state that followed it. The article also argues that the John Hilton Bureau evolved from a service defined by the reputation of the eponymous Hilton, a Cambridge professor and radio personality, to one that saw itself as a crusading organisation standing up for the ‘little man’ against a bureaucratic welfare state and unscrupulous traders. The Bureau is finally a reminder that the post-war welfare state was not simply divided between the public and voluntary sectors, but also included an array of private sector interests. The Bureau’s position outside of the public and voluntary sectors enabled it to be a critical and challenging voice, untainted by a sense of charity, but its location within a profit-making organisation also made it vulnerable in the longer term.
  • Bowen, L. et al. (2012). History in the UK National Curriculum: A Discussion. Cultural and Social History [Online] 9:125-143. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/147800412X13191165983114.
    In response to recent discussions in the UK about the history national curriculum in schools, Cultural and Social History invited several historians to comment on the issues. Their responses to our questions have been interleaved and lightly edited.
  • Bradley, K. (2012). Juvenile delinquency and the public sphere: exploring local and national discourses in England, c.1940-1969. Social History [Online] 37:19-35. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03071022.2011.651582.
    Official statistics would appear to show that there has been a dramatic and sustained rise in crime by the young since the Second World War. Youth crime became a consistent and potent theme in public discourse at the same time. This article explores the role of discourse around juvenile delinquency in England between 1940 and 1969, looking first at governmental responses to and national press reportage of youth crime. It then uses a case study of the East End of London to explore the ways in which the local press approached the matter, along with the recollections of those who grew up in the area at the time. It concludes that discourse at a national level tackled juvenile delinquency as an abstract, theoretical entity, often detached from the daily experience of youthful misbehaviour. In sharp contrast, the local East London newspapers were not preoccupied with concerns over a decline in the behaviour of young people in the area, and autobiographical accounts likewise suggest much continuity. The article argues that, if we want to understand changes in the behaviour of young people over time, the focus should on experiences on the ground.
  • Bradley, K. (2009). Conference Report: The Children Act 1908: Centennial Reflections, Contemporary Perspectives. History Workshop Journal [Online] 68:303-305. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hwj/dbn056.
  • Bradley, K. (2009). Inside the Inner London Juvenile Court, c.1909-1953. Crimes and Misdemeanours [Online] 3:37-59. Available at: http://www.pbs.plymouth.ac.uk/solon/journal/Issue%203.2/BRADLEY%20Inside%20the%20Inner%20London%20Juvenile%20Court%20final.pdf.
    This article considers the workings of an individual juvenile court – the branch of the Inner London Juvenile Court, which sat at Old Street from 1910 and Toynbee Hall from 1929. It examines the spatial environment of the juvenile court before using data sampled from the court registers between 1910 and 1950 to analyse the progress of children and young people through the court and the strategies used by the magistrates to deal with them. Finally, it looks at the social work backgrounds and connections of the magistrates at this court, the ways in which this impacted upon their practice, and the consequences of this for the development of youth justice and welfare policy since. I argue that the welfarist principles of the 1908 Children Act were worked out both at grassroots and policy formation levels during the interwar and early post-war periods, before becoming the mainstream position in youth justice by the 1960s.
  • Bradley, K. (2009). ‘Growing up with a City’: Exploring Settlement Youth Work in London and Chicago, c. 1880–1940. London Journal [Online] 34:285-298. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/030580309X12496474607066.
    The first university settlements were founded in East London in 1884,bringing young graduates to the area to live and to work for the benefit of impoverished local communities. The settlement model was soon adopted by social reformers around the world. This article considers the question of whether settlements should be seen by historians as a coherent body with shared values, or as institutions whose character and interests were uniquely shaped by their local neighbourhoods — and thus what the study of individual settlements can contribute to our understanding of working class life in East London and elsewhere. This is examined through a comparative study of settlements in London and Chicago and their work with children and young people. This article also considers how settlements attempted to develop associational cultures and social capital among children and young people.
  • Bradley, K. (2007). Juvenile Delinquency, the Juvenile Courts and the Settlement Movement 1908 – 1950: Basil Henriques and Toynbee Hall. Twentieth Century British History [Online] 19:133-155. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hwm038.
    This article explores the relationship between the voluntary sector and the juvenile courts in the period c.1908 to 1950. It specifically examines the relationship between the settlement movement and the early juvenile courts by analysing the Inner London Juvenile Court, which sat at Toynbee Hall, a settlement in the East End of London, between 1929 and 1953. The settlements, which brought young graduates to deprived urban areas to undertake voluntary social work, were heavily involved in boys' clubs. Many of those who began their careers in settlement youth work went on to work with the early juvenile courts, viewing their experience in clubs as a vital foundation for this work. This article focusses on Basil Henriques, a former resident of Toynbee Hall, warden of the Bernhard Baron Settlement in Stepney and magistrate at the Inner London Juvenile Court, and his 1950 book, Indiscretions of a Magistrate. It concludes that, by critically examining Basil Henriques and Indiscretions, it is possible to begin to fully explore the discourses around citizenship, gender, class and race that informed the views and practices of juvenile court magistrates in the period in which the voluntary sector and the welfare state underwent profound change.


  • Bradley, K. (2009). Poverty, Philanthropy and the State: Charities and the Working Classes in London 1918-1979. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    "Poverty, Philanthropy and the State" looks at a number of charities in London between 1918 and 1979, and the ways in which they negotiated the growth of the welfare state and changes in the communities around them. These charities - the 'university settlements'- were founded in the 1880s and 1890s and brought young graduates such as William Beveridge & Clement Attlee to deprived areas of cities to undertake social work. Historians have a good understanding of how these charities helped to shape British social policy to 1918, but this study breaks new ground by looking at these organizations operated between 1918 and 1979. It is of interest to those who wish to know more about the complexities of the relationships between charities, the welfare state and individuals in the course of the twentieth century. Katharine Bradley argues that whilst the settlements often had difficulties in sustaining their work with the vulnerable, they remained an important factor between the individual and the impacts of poverty. This book looks at a number of settlements in East and south London, and their work in the fields of health care, clubs, the prevention of juvenile delinquency, the care of ex-prisoners, legal advice and anti-racism.

Book section

  • Bradley, K. (2015). Rational recreation in the age of affluence: the café and working-class youth in London, ca.1939-1965. in: Crowley, M., Dawson, S. T. and Rappaport, E. eds. Consuming Behaviours: Politics, Identity and Pleasure in Twentieth Century Britain. London and New York: Bloomsbury, pp. 71-86.
  • Sanghera, B. and Bradley, K. (2015). Social justice, liberalism and philanthropy: the tensions and limitations of British foundations. in: Morvardi, B. ed. New Philanthropy and Social Justice: Debating the conceptual and policy discourse. Policy Press, pp. 175-190.
  • Bradley, K. (2014). Becoming delinquent in the post-war welfare state: England and Wales, 1945-1970. in: Ellis, H. ed. Juvenile Delinquency 1850-2000: East-West Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 227-247. Available at: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/juvenile-delinquency-and-the-limits-of-western-influence-18502000-heather-ellis/?K=9781137349514.
  • Bradley, K. (2012). Big Society and the National Citizen Service: Young People, Volunteering and Engagement with Charities c.1900–1960. in: Ishkanian, A. and Szreter, S. eds. The Big Society Debate: A New Agenda for Social Policy? Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Available at: http://www.e-elgar.com/bookentry_main.lasso?id=14782.
  • Bradley, K. (2009). Cesare Lombroso (1815-1909). in: Hayward, K. J., Maruna, S. and Mooney, J. T. eds. Fifty Key Thinkers in Criminology. London: Routledge.
    Biographical entry on Cesare Lombroso, Italian criminal anthropologist
  • Bradley, K. (2007). Creating Local Elites: The University Settlement Movement, National Elites and Citizenship in London, 1884-1940. in: Couperus, S., Smit, C. and Wolffram, D. J. eds. In Control of the City: Local Elites and the Dynamics of Urban Politics, 1800-1960. United States: Peeters, pp. 81-92.

Conference or workshop item

  • Bradley, K. (2008). Juvenile Courts and Juvenile Delinquency: Inside the Inner London Juvenile Court, 1930-1950. in: The Children Act 1908: Centennial Reflections, Contemporary Perspectives.
    Basic text of paper given at Children Act Conference, 30 June 2008. Please contact author if you wish to cite.

Confidential report

  • Bradley, K. (2016). Toynbee Hall Residents, 1884-1940. Toynbee Hall.
    Prosopography of 440 individuals, involving original research and the linking of extant biographies contained in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Wikipedia and other sources to the settlement’s list. Output of Collections Special Advisor appointment, presented to Toynbee Hall, 1 September 2016.

Edited book

  • Bradley, K. and Logan, A. (2018). Rochester and Borstal in the First World War: Selected Biographies of the Fallen. [Web page]. Bradley, K. and Logan, A. F. eds. Kent, UK: University of Kent. Available at: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/rochesterborstalfirstworldwar/.
    This project uses the Rolls of Honour of the City of Rochester, major Churches and employers in the Rochester and Borstal area as the basis for presenting the biographies of all the men who served in the First World War in Rochester, Strood and Borstal. (Note Strood was part of Rochester at this point in time). The site is edited by Kate Bradley and Anne Logan, with entries written by project volunteers (credited at the end of each entry).

    The project is funded by the AHRC Gateways to the First World War centre.

Edited journal

  • Bradley, K., Logan, A. and Shaw, S. (2009). Editorial: Youth and Crime: Centennial Reflections on the Children Act 1908. Crimes and Misdemeanours 3:1-17.

Internet publication

  • Bradley, K. (2008). Charities and the welfare state after 1950 [Online]. Available at: http://welfarestate2008.newport.ac.uk/pdf/Charities%20and%20the%20welfare%20state%20after%201948.pdf.
  • Bradley, K. (2008). Juvenile delinquency and the evolution of the British juvenile courts, c.1900-1950 [Online]. Available at: http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/welfare/articles/bradleyk.html.


  • Bradley, K. (2010). Teaching Contemporary Britain. History Subject Centre of the Higher Education Academy/University of Warwick. Available at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/heahistory/publications/focusonteaching/contemporarybritain/.
  • Bradley, K. (2009). Teaching as a PhD Student. History Subject Centre of the Higher Education Academy/University of Warwick. Available at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/heahistory/publications/focusonteaching/teachingasaphd/.


  • Bradley, K. (2016). Review of A Social History of Student Volunteering: Britain and Beyond, 1880-1980. The English Historical Review [Online] 131:1586-1588. Available at: https:/dx./doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cew295.
  • Bradley, K. (2016). Review of Felice Batlan, Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863-1945. Women's History Review [Online]:1-2. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09612025.2016.1171106.
  • Bradley, K. (2015). Review of Stephanie Olsen, Juvenile Nation: Youth, Emotions and the Making of the Modern British Citizen, 1880-1914. Social History [Online] 40:558-560. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03071022.2015.1080023.
  • Bradley, K. (2015). Review of Claire Langhamer, The English in Love: The Intimate History of an Emotional Revolution. Cultural and Social History [Online] 11:631-632. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/147800414X14056862572429.
  • Bradley, K. (2015). Review of Paul Sargent, Wild Arabs and Savages: A History of Juvenile Justice in Ireland. History of Education [Online] 45:401-402. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2015.1088078.
  • Bradley, K. (2015). Review of Anne O’Brien, Philanthropy and Settler Colonialism. Australian Historical Studies [Online] 46:486-487. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1031461X.2015.1078939.
  • Bradley, K. (2014). Book Review: The Passionate Economist: How Brian Abel-Smith Shaped Global Health and Social Welfare by Sally Sheard. LSE Review of Books [blog]:1-2. Available at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2014/04/08/book-review-the-passionate-economist-how-brian-abel-smith-shaped-global-health-and-social-welfare-by-sally-sheard/.
  • Bradley, K. (2013). Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years. By Melanie Tebbutt. Twentieth Century British History [Online] 24:476-477. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hws040.
    Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years. By Melanie Tebbutt. Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2012. xii + 321 pp. ISBN 978-0-7190-6613-9, £75 (hardback).
  • Bradley, K. (2011). Review - Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider British World. Contemporary British History [Online] 25:615-617. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2011.625812.
    Beveridge and Voluntary Action in Britain and the Wider World. Melanie, Oppenheimer, & Nicholas, Deakin, (Eds), Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2011, 224 pp., ISBN 9780719083815, (£60.00)
  • Bradley, K. (2011). Review - Teenage pregnancy: What's the problem? Journal of Poverty and Social Justice [Online] 19:87-88. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1332/175982711X559217.
    Review of Simon Duncan, Rosalind Edwards and Claire Alexander (eds), Teenage Parenthood: What’s the Problem? (Tufnell Press, 2010)
  • Bradley, K. (2010). Review - Rescue the Perishing: Eleanor Rathbone and the Refugees. Contemporary British History [Online] 24:545-563. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2010.521660.
    Rescue the Perishing: Eleanor Rathbone and the Refugees

    Susan Cohen, Edgware, Valentine Mitchell, 2010, xx+284 pp., ISBN 9780853037781 (hbk), (£45.00), 9780853037798 (pbk) (£18.95)
  • Bradley, K. (2008). Squires in the Slums: Settlements and Missions in Late Victorian London. History 93:572-573.
  • Bradley, K. (2007). Review, Madge N. (2006) Children These Days. Bristol, Policy Press. Journal of Social Policy [Online] 36:680-682. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047279407001304.
  • Bradley, K. (2005). Review of 'The Parlour and the Suburb. Domestic Identities, Class, Femininity and Modernity', Judy Giles, Oxford/New York: Berg, 2004. Reviews in History [Online]:1-2. Available at: http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/bradley.html.


  • Bradley, K. (2019). Lawyers for the Poor: Legal Advice, Voluntary Action and Citizenship in England, 1890-1990. [Online]. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Available at: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526136053/.
    Lawyers for the poor explores the development of legal advice and aid provision in England between 1890 and 1990. It is the first book-length study to place legal advice provision in the wider context of English civil society and the welfare state, and it demonstrates how making it easier for people to get advice on their problems was shaped by changing ideas of what it meant to be a citizen.

    This book examines the origins in the after-hours ‘Poor Man’s Lawyer’ voluntary work of individual lawyers in late Victorian London through to the state-subsidised legal aid schemes of post-war Britain. It considers how affordable access to help with legal matters came to be seen as a right for all, and how charities, the main political parties, the trade unions and the media were involved in trying to achieve this by the 1940s. It also reveals the problems and advantages of offering legal advice services as part of the welfare state after 1949, and the ongoing concerns about using public money on private troubles – issues which remain unresolved in the twenty-first century.

    This book will be of interest to students and researchers of welfare, citizenship, politics, social policy, and voluntary action in twentieth-century Britain, and to practitioners.
  • Bradley, K. (2019). Anwälte für die Armen: Ehrenamtliche Rechtsberatung in England vor der Zeit des Wohlfahrtsstaates, ca. 1890-1950. in: Beihefte der Historischen Zeitschrift. Berlin, Germany; Boston, USA.: De Gruyter, pp. 221-248.
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