Steve Hewett

Steve Hewett

Department of History
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

PhD title: ‘For all our people’ – an examination of the Free Library Movement in Birmingham and its impact on the cultural life of the town, 1851 – 1914.

Supervisors: Dr Malcolm Dick and Professor Ewan Fernie


  • BA (Hons) in English Literature (2:1)
  • MA West Midlands History (Distinction)


Retired librarian. Former member of staff in the University Library, University of Birmingham. 


In his address at the opening of Birmingham’s first Reference Library in 1865, George Dawson declared that the Corporation’s role was to make provision ‘for all our people’. Through the dual lens of Birmingham’s municipal government and the sometimes strident articulation of civic pride, the proposed research intends to investigate the genesis of the public library movement in Birmingham: its governance, use and users and the movement’s impact on the educational and cultural life of Birmingham in the latter decades of the nineteenth century.