Dr Kate Gibson

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow

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I am a social historian of eighteenth-century Britain, with a particular interest in the reproduction of inequality through family relationships. My first book, Illegitimacy, Family and Stigma in England, 1660-1834 was published by Oxford University Press in 2022. I am currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow working on the history of fostering and adoption in Britain from 1700 to 1839. 

I have researched and written extensively on the history of family life, sexual behaviour, illegitimacy, fostering, adoption, childcare and care work, gender, religion, and time. My work appears in The Historical Journal, Past & Present, Cultural and Social History, and The Journal of Family History.

I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2018, funded by the Wolfson foundation. I have held fellowships at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham, the Huntington Library in California, The John Rylands Research Institute in Manchester and the Royal Archives at Windsor. In 2019, I joined the University of Manchester as a postdoctoral researcher on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Faith in the Town: Lay Religion, Urbanisation and Industrialisation in England, 1740-1830’, which examines the role of faith in perceptions of work, family life, space and time for ordinary people living in Northern English towns during a period of social and economic change. 

I enjoy sharing my research with a wider audience, and have spoken about illegitimacy and family life in the past more generally on BBC radio 4, and worked as a consultant for the Royal College of Physicians museum, local history groups and tv documentaries. Prior to my PhD, I worked in museums and heritage producing events and exhibitions. 

I often blog about my research. Examples include - 

'Uncovering histories of care', History Workshop Online, 30 April 2021

'"Unrelated, including foster child": finding the history of care in the census', Care Experienced History Month, April 2021

Blogs on various aspects of daily life in eighteenth-century Northern England on the Faith in the Town blog



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