• Studying_People_banner_jpg
  • Academic staff

  • Professor Glen O'Hara

    Professor of Modern and Contemporary History

    School of History, Philosophy and Culture

    Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


    Phone number: +44 (0)1865 484166

    Email: glen.ohara@brookes.ac.uk

    Location: Tonge Building, T535

    Glen O'Hara teaches across a range of Oxford Brookes courses. These chiefly concern governance and national identity in modern Britain, both in its domestic and international aspects. His second year course on 'Modern Britain', and his third year courses on 'Anglo-American Relations' and 'Britain and the Sea' deal with the interaction between state and people, and between governments and the outside world, in the modern age.

    Professor O'Hara was at Oxford University as an undergraduate and a postgraduate between 1993 and 1997, where he won the Gladstone Prize for History and Politics. After working as a journalist at The Independent, he moved back into academia at University College London, where he completed a PhD in 2002. In 2001 he was appointed Lecturer in Economic History at the University of Bristol, where he spent a year before moving to New College, Oxford, as Lecturer in Modern History. He moved to Oxford Brookes in January 2005. He also serves on the International Advisory Board of Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research, which aims to encourage students to pursue their own research interests by publishing articles based on original undergraduate work.

    Modules taught


    • U67724, Politics, Society and Culture in Modern Britain
    • U67873, Anglo-American Relations in the Twentieth Century
    • U67778, Blue, White and Green Nation: Britain and the Sea since 1600


    • MA Module P67566, Britain and Europe, 1950-1997
      This optional MA module follows the UK's often-troubled relationship with the country's European neighbours, from Britain's first rejection of the Coal and Steel Community to ultimate accession to the European Economic Community, and then on to the country's semi-detached role in the 1990s.


    PhD supervision

    • George Gosling, 'Co-Ordinating Diversity: The Mixed Economy of Healthcare in Bristol, 1918-48' (completed in September 2011).
    • Catherine Flinn, '"In Spite of Planning": Reconstructing Britain's Blitzed Cities, 1945-54'' (completed in December 2011).
    • Nicholas Saunders, 'The Suez Crisis and Britain's European Allies' (completed in May 2015).
    • Jenny Wright, 'Female Consultants in the National Health Service since 1947' (completed in May 2016).
    • Melanie Bashor, 'Engineering Tolerance: The Origins of Multicultural Education Policies in the Atlantic World, c.1941-c.1988' (completed in June 2016).
    • Cat Rushmore (as second supervisor to Dr Viviane Quirke), 'Chemicals and their Users in the British Home: From the 1930s to the 1960s' (completed in January 2017).
    • Emily Stacey (jointly supervised with Dr James Cooper), 'Preparing for Power: Margaret Thatcher's Foreign Visits as Leader of the Opposition' (completion expected in 2019/20).

    Professor O'Hara is primarily interested in British central governments' economic and social policies, focusing especially on the period since the First World War, and has written and edited a number of books on this subject. In 2012 he published another full-length monograph on this theme, entitled Governing Post-War Britain: The Paradoxes of Progress (2012), and he has just published The Politics of Water in Post-War Britain (2017). He writes regularly on current affairs for a range of periodicals and blogs. Professor O'Hara can be followed on Twitter as @gsoh31, and he blogs in a personal capacity at 'Public Policy and the Past'.


    • O'Hara G, The politics of water in Post-War Britain, Palgrave Macmillan (2017)
      ISBN: 9781137446398
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, Governing post-war Britain: the paradoxes of progress, 1951-1973, Palgrave Macmillan (2012)
      ISBN: 9780230230569
      Abstract Website
    • Crook T, O'Hara G, Ed., Statistics and the Public Sphere: Numbers and the People in Modern Britain, c. 1800–2000, Routledge (2011)
      ISBN: 9780415878944
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, Britain and the sea since 1600 , Palgrave Macmillan (2010)
      ISBN: 9780230218291
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, From dreams to disillusionment: economic and social planning in 1960s Britain, Palgrave Macmillan (2006)
      ISBN: 9780230013476;9781349284
      Abstract Website

    Journal articles

    • O'Hara G, 'Time, Exhortation and Planning in British Government, c.1959 - c.1979'
      Journal of Modern European History 13 (3) (2015) pp.338-354
      ISSN: 1611-8944 eISSN: 1611-8944
      Abstract Website
    • Brownill S, O'Hara G, 'From planning to opportunism? Re-examining the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation'
      Planning Perspectives 30 (4) (2015) pp.537-570
      ISSN: 0266-5433 eISSN: 0266-5433
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara GS, 'The British Labour governments of the nineteen-sixties = Il governo laburista britannico degli anni Sessanta'
      Ricerche di Storia Politica 17 (2) (2014) pp.155-164
      ISSN: 1120-9526 eISSN: 1120-9526
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'The complexities of "consumerism": choice, collectivism and participation within Britain's National Health Service, c.1961-c.1979'
      Social History of Medicine 26 (2) (2013) pp.288-304
      ISSN: 0951-631X eISSN: 0951-631X
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, ''Parties, people and parliament: Britain's "Ombudsman" and the politics of the 1960s'
      Journal of British Studies 50 (3) (2011) pp.690-714
      ISSN: 0021-9371 eISSN: 0021-9371
    • O'Hara G, 'New histories of British imperial communications and the "networked world" of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries'
      History Compass 8 (7) (2010) pp.609-625
      ISSN: 1478-0542 eISSN: 1478-0542
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'How (not) to cut government spending and reduce public sector debt'
      (Policy Paper 95) (2010)
      ISSN: eISSN:
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'The Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Foreign Office and the Sachsenhausen case, 1964'1968'
      Historical Journal 53 (3) (2010) pp.771-781
      ISSN: 0018-246X eISSN: 0018-246X
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'The sea is swinging into view: modern British maritime history in a globalised world'
      English Historical Review 124 (510) (2009) pp.1109-1134
      ISSN: 0013-8266 eISSN: 0013-8266
    • O'Hara G, ''What the electorate can be expected to swallow': Nationalisation, transnationalism and the shifting boundaries of the state in post-war Britain'
      Business History 51 (4) (2009) pp.501-528
      ISSN: 0007-6791 eISSN: 0007-6791
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'This is what growth does': British views of the European economies in the prosperous 'golden age' of 1951-73'
      Journal of Contemporary History 44 (4) (2009) pp.697-717
      ISSN: 0022-0094 eISSN: 0022-0094
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, ''Applied socialism of a fairly moderate kind' Scandinavia, British policymakers and the post-war housing market'
      Scandinavian Journal of History 33 (1) (2008) pp.1-25
      ISSN: 0346-8755 eISSN: 0346-8755
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'Towards a New Bradshaw: Economic Statistics and the British State in the 1950s and 1960s'
      Economic History Review 60 (1) (2007) pp.1-34
      ISSN: 0013-0117 eISSN: 0013-0117
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, '“We Are Faced Everywhere With a Growing Population”: Demographic Change and the British State, 1955-64'
      Twentieth Century British History 15 (3) (2004) pp.243-266
      ISSN: 0955-2359 eISSN: 0955-2359
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, '‘The Limits of US Power: Transatlantic Financial Diplomacy under the Johnson and Wilson Administrations, October 1964-November 1968’'
      Contemporary European History Volume 12 (3) (2003) pp.257-278
      ISSN: 0960-7773 eISSN: 0960-7773
      Abstract Website

    Book chapters

    • O'Hara G, 'Imagining New Zealand’s Economy in the Mid-Twentieth Century' in D.Thackeray, A.Thompson and R. Toye (ed.), Imagining Britain's Economic Future, c.1800-1975: Trade, Consumerism and Global Markets, Palgrave Macmillan (2018)
      ISBN: 9783319712963
    • O'Hara G, ''"Maximum Supervision”: Risk, Danger and Public Water in Post-War Britain’' in T Crook and M Esbester (ed.), Governing Risks: Danger, Safety and Accidents in Modern Britain, c.1800-2000, Palgrave Macmillan (2016)
      ISBN: 978-1-137-46744-7
    • O'Hara GS, 'Healthcare as Nation-Building in the Twentieth Century: The Case of the British National Health Service' in Weindling P (ed.), Healthcare in Private and Public from the Early Modern Period to 2000, Routledge (2014)
      ISBN: 978-0415727006
    • O'Hara G, 'Britain and Norway: trade and commercial relations in the post-Second World War era' in H. Pharo and P. Salmon (ed.), Britain and Norway: special relationships, Akademika Forlag (2013)
      ISBN: 9788232101771
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'Attempts to "modernise": nationalisation and the nationalised industries in Post-War Britain' in F. Amatori, R. Millward and P.A. Toninelli (ed.), Re-appraising state-owned enterprise: a comparison of the UK and Italy, Routledge (2011)
      ISBN: 9780415878326
      Abstract Website
    • O'Hara G, 'The intellectuals' ideal: British views of Scandanavia in the 1950s and 1960s' in J.E. Myhre (ed.), Intellectuals in the public sphere: in Britain and Norway after World War II, Oslo University Press (2008)
      ISBN: 9788274772915
      Abstract Website


    Conferences organised since 2001

    • 'The Management of Scarce Resources: Space, Time, History', Oxford Brookes University, November 2016
    • 'Promoting Engagement with the Teaching of Economic History', Oxford Brookes University, March 2012.
    • 'Health Care and the People', Glasgow Caledonian University, January 2009.
    • 'Numbers, Norms and the People: Statistics and the Public Sphere in Modern Britain', Oxford Brookes University, September 2008.
    • Interdisciplinary conference on the Wilson governments of 1964-1970, New College, Oxford, June 2003.

    Conference papers (selected since 2001)

    • ‘The Intellectuals’ Ideal: British Views of Scandinavia in the 1950s and 1960s’, University of Oxford Modern European History Research Centre/ University of Oslo Forum for Contemporary History Workshop, Oxford, May 2006.
    • ‘Numbers, Experts and Ideas: International Organisations, International Surveys and Perceptions of the Outside World in Britain, c.1950-1970', Economic History Society Annual Conference, Exeter, March 2007.
    • ‘Attempts to Reform and Modernise Britain's State-Owned Enterprises and Manufacturing Industries, 1951-1979', Fondazione Instituto per la Riconstruzione Industriale Conference on State-Owned Enterprise, Rome, May 2008.
    • ‘Economic Advice and the British Government in Sterling's “Crisis Decade”, 1961-1969', History of Economics as History of Science Spring Workshop, ENS Cachan, Paris, June 2010.
    • ‘Accounting for Political Discontent in Post-War Britain’, Western Conference on British Studies Fall Conference, Austin, Texas, September 2010.
    • ‘Green, White and Blue Nation: Britain, the Sea and National Identity since 1600’, National Maritime Museum Centre for Imperial and Maritime Studies Annual Public Lecture, Greenwich, September 2010.
    • ‘Sir Alec Cairncross: Economics as Administrative Art’, History of Political Economy Group Fall Conference, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, October 2010.
    • ‘Paradoxes and Complexities in British Economic and Social Policy after the Second World War’, Cambridge University Seminar on Modern Economic and Social History, Cambridge, January 2011.
    • ‘Planning Timeframes in British Government, 1961-1973’, German Historical Institute Conference on 'Time, Futures and Politics in West Germany and Britain: From the 1960s to the 1980s', London, March 2011.
    • ‘“The Turn to the Sea”: Historians and the Recent Recrudescence of Britain’s “Blue Water” History’, National Museum of the Royal Navy Conference on ‘The Navy is the Nation’, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth, April 2012.
    • ‘The 1976 IMF Crisis: Cuts, Austerity or Growth?’, HM Treasury/ History and Policy Briefing, HM Treasury, London, December 2012.
    • ‘Numbers, Power and Government in the “Golden Age” of Economic Growth’, The Theory and Practice of Measurement: Perspectives from Economic History and the History and Philosophy of Economics, London School of Economics, London, September 2013.
    • ‘Socialism, Social Democracy and the British Labour Party in the 1960s’, Italian-German Historical Institute/ University of Bologna/ Gramsci Institute Conference on the Centre-Left, Bologna, October 2013
    • ‘Positively Northern: The Idea of “Scandinavia” in British Economic and Social Policy, c.1951-c.1979’, University of Oslo Public Lecture, Oslo, October 2014.
    • ‘British Views of the Soviet Economy, c.1950-c.1979’, Queen’s University Belfast/ Society for the Study of Labour History Conference on ‘Socialism and the Cold War in Western Europe’, Belfast, April 2015.
    • 'What is the Role of Business in Britain’s Relationship with the EU?’, Mile End Institute/ British Academy One-Day Conference on ‘Britain and Europe: The Lessons from History’, British Academy, London, November 2015.
    • ‘“Inadmissable and Cruel”: Fear and Risk in Britain’s Post-War Fluoride Debate’, University of Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities/ The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, March 2016.
    • ‘Britain’s Troubled Relationship with “Europe”: Why Did the UK join the EEC, and Why is it Thinking of Leaving the EU?’, Museum of Oxford Public Lecture, Oxford, June 2016.
    • ‘Domestic Water and the Politics of the Home in Post-War Britain’, Institute of Historical Research Contemporary British History Seminar, London, January 2017.
    • ‘Is the Sea Still Swinging into View? Contemporary British History and the Maritime Turn’, International Security Studies Brady-Johnson Colloquium in Grand Strategy and International History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, April 2017.
    • ‘Demons Unleashed? Why Did Brexit Happen, and What Does it Mean?’, Yale Public Lecture, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, April 2017.
    • ‘Britain Divided: Brexit and its Consequences’, Keynote lecture, University of Northampton Conference on ‘Brexit in Context’, Northampton, July 2017.
    • ‘“The Land with the Midas Touch”: British Perceptions of New Zealand Between the 1930s and the 1970s’, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/ Wellcome Trust Symposium on ‘Entwined Health System Histories’, New Zealand High Commission, London, October 2017.

    Further information