Phil’s research is concerned with the political context of urban change in modern Britain.
Under contract with Manchester University Press, he is currently writing his first book, grounding our cultural memory of post-1945 urban change within a context of left-wing political ideas about the future of Britain, placing the Labour Party at the centre of the discussion. Taking a particular focus on housing, the book explores how left-wing actors understood urban modernism and how they sought to assimilate the mood for change into existing socialist desires. Part of this research has been published in a well-received article on rent control in Twentieth Century British History.
Other recent research has considered the landscape of voluntary action in Birmingham from 1945 to the present day, as a strand of the Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Community-level perspectives on post-war change in the British voluntary sector.’ A recent article in The Historical Journal discusses elite understandings of voluntary action as experienced in Aston in north Birmingham, used as an evidence base for Lord Beveridge’s 1948 Voluntary Action report via a little-studied Mass-Observation survey. Further research from this project includes: the black experience of homelessness and the Urban Programme in 1980s Handsworth; the rape crisis movement and women’s access to urban space in 1980s Birmingham; and Catholic action on youth employment in post-war Britain.