Department of History
PhD title: Community, Patriotism and the Working Class in the First World War: The Home Front in Wednesbury 1914-1918
Supervisor: Professor Carl Chinn
BA (Hons) in Economic and Social Studies, University of Manchester, 1993
BA (Hons) in History and Politics (First-Class Honours), Open University, 2001
MA in History (Distinction), Open University, 2008
I was born in Wednesbury in the Black Country, and educated at Wood Green High School, Sandwell College and the University of Manchester, where I read economics. However, a long-standing enthusiasm for history led me to undertake further, part-time study with the Open University, from which I gained a first-class honours degree and a master’s degree awarded with distinction. My master’s dissertation examined the social history of my hometown with respect to the Chartist movement during the 1830s and 1840s, but has been followed a switch from the 19th to 20th Century research due to a long held interest in the First World War.
My thesis, which is being undertaken on a part-time basis, is concerned with the experience of the home front during the First World War in the Black Country town of Wednesbury . Accordingly, my research focuses on the patriotism of the working-class community and its contribution to the war effort. Following an examination of Wednesbury on the eve of the war, attention is given to the mobilization of resources, munitions production and industrial relations, and the manifestation of social and political change during the war years.
Aside from an enduring fascination with other areas of history as diverse as the Renaissance and the social and political history of the Black Country, my other interests include cinema, crosswords, current affairs, music, photography, the theatre, travel, and I am a lifelong supporter of West Bromwich Albion FC.
'Industry, Labour and Patriotism in the Black Country: Wednesbury at War, 1914-1918' in The Great War: Localities and Regional Identities eds. N. Mansfield and C. Horner (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2014)
‘Zeppelins Over the Black Country: The Midlands’ First Blitz’ in the journal Midland History, 2014.
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