I grew up in a village on the outskirts of Oxford. I studied History at Oxford and came to Reading as the Marc Fitch Student in Agricultural History. My PhD was on the history of allotments. I was appointed to a lectureship in the Department of History in 1997.
My research interests are in modern rural history. The Allotment Movement in England (2002) was the first book-length scholarly treatment of nineteenth-century allotment provision. Since then I have published widely on mainly twentieth-century rural history, on subjects such as rural leisure, village halls, rural regeneration between the wars and counterurbanization. My current work has two primary foci: popular experience of the modern countryside, and childhood in twentieth-century rural England.
I am currently Chair of the Examinations Board and Part One Examinations Secretary. Previous roles include Part Two Examinations Secretary, Website Manager, Library Liaison, Part-Time Studies Co-ordinator and Visiting Students Coordinator. I sit on a number of University committees including the Research Ethics Committee and is a member of the Reading UCU Executive Committee.
My personal interests outside history include medieval architecture, sailing, changing the world!