My research focuses on urban culture in twentieth-century Britain and falls loosely around two themes:
1. Working-class urban communities, and 'deviant' women and children in twentieth-century Britain
Building on from my British Academy Small Grant 2016-2019 for a project titled 'The Home as a Site of Criminality: Gender, Crime and the Family in Britain, 1918-1979' and an AHRC Network Grant 'Challenging Doemsticity', I am interested in working-class domesticity in inner urban communities. Forming the basis of my next monograph, this project examines working-class women’s use of the home for a range of minor crime as a way to contest the inequalities they experienced and to subvert increased state intervention into familial domesticity, 1918-1979. Home-centred offences are under-explored but offer an opportunity to expand enquiry to the domestic sphere and offer new insights into women's experiences of the home through the lens of crime records. I am particularly interested in the ways in which working-class domestic space helped to facilitated offending and its implications for women's interpersonal relationships, especially with children, their husbands, and non-familial men.
I am also interested in the ways in which women might use urban space for nefarious behaviours, such as shoplifting, and how deviant women represented wider social anxieties about femininity and women’s increased mobility after 1918.
Eloise Moss (History), Ruth Lamont (Law) and myself, are co-writing a monograph on the assisted emigration of ‘delinquent’ children through Liverpool to Canada. Drawing on archival records in both the North-West of England and Canada, we offer new insights into children's ability to resist or shape their experiences of emigration, explore emigration as a child welfare polcy, and compare religious and regional approaches and methods to assisted emigration.
2. Readdressing the history of Liverpool and Manchester.
My doctoral project challenged some of the overly stereotypical images of Liverpool and Manchester, which stress poverty and decay, by drawing attention to the ambitious programmes of redevelopment that local politicians and planners invested in as a response to post-1918 economic, political and economic instability. By drawing attention to grand prestige projects such as the Mersey Tunnel and Wythenshawe Estate, I show that these programmes of redevelopment aimed to boost trade and engender a strong civic pride. Urban redevelopment transformed urban culture in these cities and my monograph, Urban Transformation and Modernity in Liverpool and Manchester, 1918-1939 shows the revitalized civic, consumer, and religious urban cultures that emerged in both cities.
Impact and Public Engagement
I am enthusiastic about research impact and the wider dissemination of my research. My research impact strategies focus on:
1. Community Engagement
I regularly work with community groups to use my research to train volunteer researchers, encourage interest and engagement with heritage, and enhance civic pride and community relationships. My work includes the HLF funded projects: 'Watkin of Wythenshawe' and 'Burnage: A Place Called Home.' I welcome enquiries from schools and community groups who are interested in heritage projects.
2. Broadcast Media and Historical Consultancy
I regularly work with journalists and producers to shape content and contribute to a range of broadcast media, including ‘Emmeline Pankhurst: Making of a Militant’ (2018), copies have been sent to all secondary schools in Greater Manchester. I am also currently working as a historical consultant for a screenplay in development with a major US film studio. I have made appearances on Sky News and BBC Breakfast, discussing a range of historical topics.