David Brown

Department of History
Honorary Research Fellow

Contact details

I am an economic and social historian of the later modern period focusing mainly on landed society.


I have taught in secondary education for over 40 years in a range of schools and FE/HE colleges.  I studied for an MA in West Midlands History at Wolverhampton between 1982 and 1985 and went on to complete a PhD about the motives for parliamentary enclosure in 1992. I taught at Norwich City College, a hybrid FE/HE college, where I ran the History field on a Combined Arts degree course for twelve years. I have published over fifteen articles and chapters in refereed monographs and journals and have taught on the MA course at the University of Birmingham since 2009.


I have taught over 28 units of A-level History covering British, European and US History; I teach eighteenth and nineteenth century social and economic history on the MA course.

Postgraduate supervision

I have not been the lead supervisor of any postgraduate research but I have had an input into several postgraduate researchers’ work.


My specific research and publishing interests are in itinerant retailing, parliamentary enclosure and new men of wealth and the purchase of land. I am keen to publish work on the Peel’s management of their Drayton Manor estates viewed as a microcosm of how their world view. I have been awarded grants from the CNAA (as part of an RAE submission), the British Academy (for work on Staffordshire landownership and the use of the Return of Owners of Land of 1873) and Staffordshire County Council (for mapping Staffordshire’s enclosure awards). Now that I am in semi-retirement from A level teaching, I am in negotiations to publish a book on parliamentary enclosure with Boydell and Brewer.

Other activities

  • Ofqual subject specialist for Law, History, Politics and Sociology
  • Principal Examiner for several A level papers in History, Thinking and Reasoning and Law
  • Fellow of Royal Historical Society



  • "New men of wealth and the purchase of land in the United Kingdom 1780-1879" Agricultural History Review Volume 63 (2) (2015)  pp.286-310
  • ''The strategy and socio-economic contribution of an aristocratic canal promoter and entrepreneur: the second Viscount Dudley and Ward (1725-1788) Journal of Transport History Volume 27 (2) September 2006 pp.1-24.
  • 'Persons of infamous character' or 'an honest, industrious and useful description of people'? The textile pedlars of Alstonfield and the role of peddling in industrialisation’ Textile History Volume 31 (1) Spring 2000 pp.1-25.
  • ‘Reassessing the influence of the aristocratic improver: the fifth duke of Bedford (1765-1802)’ Agricultural History Review Volume 47 (2) November 1999 pp.182-195.
  • ‘The Rev. William MacGregor and the Improvement of Tamworth’ Midland History Volume 24 1999 pp.119-146.
  • ‘The relationship between local elites and central government: the Victorian attempts to 'reform' Nomans Heath' Journal of Victorian Culture Volume 2 (1) 1997 pp.42-70.
  • 'The autobiography of a pedlar: John Lomas of Hollinsclough (1747-1823)' Midland History Volume 21 1996 pp.156-166.
  • 'From ‘cotton lord' to landed aristocrat: the rise of Sir George Philips Bart. 1766-1847' Historical Research Volume 69 1996 pp.62-82.
  • 'The Variety of Motives for Parliamentary Enclosure - the example of the Cannock Chase area 1773-1867', Midland History Volume 19 1994 pp.105-127.
  • 'The Motives for Business Enterprise: the Hanburys of Norton Canes' Staffordshire Studies Volume 6 1994 pp.45-71.
  • 'Enclosure: Agreements and Acts', Journal of Legal History Volume 15 (3) 1994 (co-written with Frank Sharman, reader in law, Wolverhampton University) pp.269-86.

Chapters in Edited Books

  • ‘Matthew Boulton, enclosure and landed society’ in M Dick ed., Matthew Boulton: A revolutionary Player (Brewin 2009) pp.45-62.
  • 'The rise of industrial society and the end of the self-contained village' in Christopher Dyer ed., The self-contained village (Hertfordshire University Press, 2007) pp.114-137.
  • 'Equipoise and the myth of an open elite. New men of wealth and the purchase of land in the equipoise decades 1850-70' in Martin Hewitt ed., Reviewing Equipoise (Scolar Press 2000) pp.122-154.
  • 'The Cannock Chase Coalfield 1840-1914' in J Benson, ed. The Staffordshire Miner 1840-1914 (Keele 1993) pp.8-17.
  • Chapters on “Enclosure”, Parks and Gardens” and “Landownership” in the ADM Philips and C B Philips eds., An Historical Atlas of  Staffordshire (2011).