My research focuses on urban culture in twentieth-century Britain and falls loosely around two themes:
1. 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.
2. Deviant women and children in the twentieth-century city
My first project highlighted the range of roles and experienced enjoyed by women in the transformed cityscapes, including as shoppers and as religious observers. Moving on from this, I am interested in the ways in which women might use urban space for more nefarious behaviours, such as shoplifting, and how deviant women represented wider social anxieties about femininity and women’s increased mobility after 1918. I am currently developing a new project on women, urban space and criminality and, along with Eloise Moss (History) and Ruth Lamont (Law) I am working on a collaborative project on the assisted emigration of ‘delinquent’ children through Liverpool to Canada.
I held a 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.' My project examines working-class women’s use of the home for betting, handling of stolen goods, and fraud, 1918-1979. These crimes are under-analysed in recent scholarship but as home-centred offences offer an opportunity to expand enquiry to the domestic sphere and to nuance analyses of gendered patterns of criminality. 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.
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.