I was born in Lancashire at a time that unfortunately now appears as a topic or occasionally a Special Subject on our syllabus. I was brought up in a large, political and very Northern working class family and attended one of the last surviving Socialist Sunday Schools. I was lucky enough to go to an outstanding senior school and on to Manchester University in the early 1980s (I did see Morrissey and the Smiths live and I did go to the Hacienda club). After university I moved south and married a southern boy. I followed a career in marketing, living in Paris and Geneva, before coming back to university when my son went to school.
My upbringing undoubtedly influenced my research and I completed my PhD here at Reading. My thesis considered the changes in the way that the working classes perceived themselves at the end of the C19th and beginning of the C20th. I am interested in modern cultural history – secularization, gender, children’s history and working class politics.
My current research is largely based in the Nancy Astor Archive here at Special Collections and at Cliveden; my work on ‘Battle Axes and Benchwarmers’ reassesses the contribution of early female MPs, particularly married MPs between 1919 and 1931.
Beyond the History Department I am currently Secretary to the Standing Committee on Academic Misconduct and beyond the confines of Whitenights I am a very keen photographer and have an LRPS. I enjoy socializing with friends and family, hiking in my beloved Lake District and avoiding football and Arsenal matches at all costs.