Alias Grace, mapping women's suffrage, and the Birmingham Museum Trust's online collections

In the third of a recommendations series for undergraduate History degree applicants, we spoke to Dr Zoë Thomas, Lecturer in 19th Century Britain and the Wider World.


1)  Birmingham Museum Trust's online collections, which are getting better in terms of digitalisation by the day. Looking through the collections 'Topographic Views of Birmingham and the Midlands', 'Birmingham Social History', 'Victorian Radicals', and 'Pre-Raphaelite Paintings' would really help to begin to think through some of the topics you will encounter throughout a degree here - and to explore sources such as paintings which will open up new ways of thinking. 

Line drawing of Birmingham skyline

2) 'Mapping Women's Suffrage' is still being developed (in preparation of 2028) but there’s already lots to see there. The website provides information and locations of suffrage campaigners across England.

3) If you have access to Netflix, 'Alias Grace' is a fantastic adaption of Margaret Atwood's novel, which tells the history of Irish immigrant and domestic servant Grace Marks who moves to Canada and is accused and convicted of the 1843 murder of her employer and housekeeper. Even better, you could look for the book, which every historian should read at some point. Very thought provoking in the way it blurs 'fact' and 'fiction'.

4) History Workshop Online, the Past and Present blog, and the Women's History Network blog perfect opportunity to begin to engage in 'bite size' versions of exciting, recent scholarship! Often written in a very accessible way. Also, have a look at 'Making Britain' 


Zoe ThomasDr Zoë Thomas is an historian of modern Britain with particular specialism in women’s history and social and cultural history.

Zoë teaches on our History and Joint Honours with History first year compulsory module 'Practicing History', our second year compulsory module 'History in Theory and Practice' and the optional modules 'Women in International Life since 1850' and 'New Directions in Modern British History'.