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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483570
I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge and then worked a research officer at the University of Bath before moving to Oxford Brookes as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in April 2004. I became a permanent member of staff soon afterwards. My research focuses on the history of child welfare and the family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and I have published on the history of illegitimacy, child health and childhood more generally. I teach in all of these areas, including a specialist third-year Advanced Study module on the history of childhood and youth. My latest research has been a complete change and I have just published a book on the history of cake, which came out with Headline in 2016.
I have supervised PhD students in a range of areas in economic, social and medical history, and am happy to hear from prospective students working in these areas. At the moment I am supervising projects on child domestic servants, and the implementation of the New Poor Law in Hertfordshire. Previous students have successfully submitted theses on religion and the workhouse in eighteenth-century Westminster, the history of smallpox in eighteenth-century Oxfordshire, and the Making and remaking of the ‘Normal Child’ in England, c. 1880-1914
Like my teaching, my research focuses on experiences of daily life within the context of childhood and the family. My particular specialism is the health and welfare of poor families in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. My book The childhood of the poor: welfare in eighteenth-century London came out with Palgrave Macmillan in 2012. My previous monograph, Childcare, health and mortality at the London Foundling Hospital, 1741-1800: Left to the mercy of the world was published by Manchester University Press in 2007.
My new book Cake: the short, surprising history of our favourite bakes is out with Headline in 2016.
I am currently working on a new and exciting project on networks, religion and community in nineteenth-century Liverpool. This study examines the impact of industrialisation and migration on functional networks, by linking charity and community records with households.