I am a Senior Lecturer in Social History and Social Policy at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR). I am also Director of Studies for Social Sciences BSc.
I joined SSPSSR in October 2007, having been an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary British History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Before becoming an academic I worked in the voluntary and public sectors.
I completed my PhD, which was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, at the Centre for Contemporary British History, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, between 2002 and 2006. I studied for my MA in Twentieth Century Literature and my BA in English and History at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Room Gillingham 3-08
University of Kent
Kent ME4 4AG
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
My research interests lie within the field of British social history after 1918 to the present. Within this I have a number of distinct areas of interest:
- The mixed economy of welfare from 1918 to the present
- Legal aid, advice and advocacy after 1945
- Volunteering and voluntary action from 1918 to the present
- Children, young people and juvenile delinquency, and the groups/agencies concerned with this
Although formally trained as an historian, I take an interdisciplinary approach to my work, drawing particularly upon methods and approaches from the broader field of social and cultural research.
Current research projects
‘Civil society, social justice and deindustrialisation in the Medway Towns, ca.1980-2010’. This is a pilot study supported by the Faculty of Social Sciences Research Fund, 2012-13, exploring the relationship between deindustrialisation and its potential impact on the shape of voluntary action and associational culture.
With Balihar Sanghera and John Mohan (Southampton), I have recently completed an ESRC-funded project on 'Social justice philanthropy: implications for policy and practice'. This project explored how
UK-based foundations define and try to achieve social justice through their grant-making and other activities. More information on this project, including our March 2013 conference, can be found
My monograph, ‘Poverty, Philanthropy and the State: Charities and the Working Classes in London 1918-1979’ was published by Manchester University Press in November 2009. This book is based on
and expands my doctoral research, which looked at the university settlements in London and their relationships with their local communities, local and national government. It presents case studies of
these charities' work in the provision of healthcare, legal advice and advocacy, youth clubs, probation and the juvenile courts.
I would welcome applications and proposals for MPhil and PhD research in any of my research areas. If you wish to study at the University of Kent, please email me to discuss further.back to top
I convene the following modules:
- SO326 Introduction to Contemporary Britain
- SO551 Dissertation
- SO617 Britain on Film
- SO648 Historical Research Methods
- SO714 People, Politics and Participation
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (elected February 2011).
- Social History Society.
- Economic History Society.
- Voluntary Action History Society
- Grants Officer, Social Policy Association, 2010-12
- Executive Committee, Social Policy Association, 2010-12
- Committee Member, Social History Society, 2006-2012.
- External examiner, Modern History, Goldsmiths, University of London, 2011-15
- Grant proposals: member of the AHRC Peer Review College, 2012-15; ESRC, Leverhulme Trust
- Articles: Contemporary British History; Cultural and Social History; History of Education Researcher; Law, Crime and History; London Journal; Sociology Compass; Victorian Literature and Culture
- Manuscripts and book proposals: Institute of Education Press; Manchester University Press; Routledge; SAGE
- Reviews Editor, Cultural and Social History, 2011-14
- Who Do You Think You Are (Wall-To-Wall/BBC1)
- Women's Hour, BBC Radio Four
- BBC News 24
- BBC Five Live
- BBC Radio Kent.
- Children and Young People Now.
- Speigel Online.
Websites of interest in this field:
A brief history of free legal advice
(a Think Kent video, 2018)
Dealing with everyday problems: a history of advice provision and welfare rights
(a Think Kent video, 2016)