Professor Nicholas Crowson FRHistS (Fellow, Royal Historical Society)

Professor Nicholas Crowson

Department of History
Professor of Contemporary British History

Contact details

Address
Arts Building, Rm 446
School of History and Cultures
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Professor Nicholas Crowson is a Professor of Contemporary British History with a particular interest in homelessness from the 1880s to the modern day. This includes recreating the life stories of vagrants in late Victorian times; exploring the hidden history of the mass squatting of military camps in 1946; examining the role of the Reception Centres after 1946; and considering the impact of organisations, such as Shelter and Crisis, in campaigning for the homeless.

Qualifications

BA, PhD

Biography

I joined the Department of Modern History in September 1997. Previously I had been Director of Research at the Institute of Contemporary British History, University of London (1996-7) and a Fellow in the Department of Politics, The Queen’s University of Belfast (1994-1996).

My Doctoral Research on the Conservative Party and appeasement 1937-40 was undertaken at the University of Southampton where I was a recipient of an Archival Studentship. An extended version of the PhD was published as Facing Fascism: The Conservative Party and the European Dictators 1935-40 (London: Routledge, 1997). My undergraduate studies were also undertaken at the University of Southampton.

Teaching

I undertake a range of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Postgraduate supervision

Homelessness
Non-Governmental Organisations and Social Activism
British European policy since 1945
Inter-war British foreign policy
Modern British party politics


Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

Current research

I am researching a history of homeless in modern Britain from the 1880s to modern day. This includes recreating the life stories of vagrants in late Victorian times; exploring the hidden history of the mass squatting of military camps in 1946; examining the role of the Reception Centres after 1946; and considering the impact of organisations, such as Shelter and Crisis, in campaigning for the homeless.

Past research

NGOs in Britain 1945-1997

This project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and and was undertaken with my colleague Matthew Hilton. NGOs have raised new political agendas, transformed and revived associational life, re-politicised generations seemingly disillusioned with the politics of the ballot box and inspired numerous pieces of legislation and regulatory initiatives. By mapping the sector, examining its role and interpreting its power, this research will provide a better assessment of the role of NGOs in contemporary Britain as well as contributing to current policy and interdisciplinary academic debates regarding civil society, voluntarism and associational life, state-NGO relations and the role of the ‘third sector’ more generally. Two books have arisen from the project A Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector since 1945 (Palgrave, 2012) and The Politics of Expertise (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013). 

With an AHRC Resource Enhancement Grant  I, along with Matthew Hilton, created the Database on the Archives of UK Non-Governmental Organisations since 1945 (DANGO) This is a research tool to enable researchers to identify the archives of NGOs.

Prior to this my research has been concerned with the Conservative Party and resulted in two books, an edited volume and numerous articles and chapters (see Select Publications below).

Other activities

  • Member AHRC Peer Review College

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Hilton, M, McKay, J, Mouhot, J & Crowson, N 2013, The Politics of Expertise: How NGOs Shaped Modern Britain. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Hilton, M, Crowson, N, McKay, J & Mouhot, J 2012, A Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector since 1945. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Crowson, N 2010, Britain and Europe:A Political History since 1918. Routledge.

Hilton, M, Crowson, N & McKay, J (eds) 2009, NGOs in contemporary Britain: non-state actors in society and politics since 1945. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230234079

Crowson, N 2006, The Conservative Party and European Integration since 1945: At the heart of Europe? Routledge.

Article

Crowson, N 2020, 'Tramps' tales: discovering the life stories of late Victorian and Edwardian vagrants', English Historical Review. https://doi.org/10.1093/ehr/ceaa256

Crowson, N 2013, 'Revisiting the 1977 Housing (Homeless Persons) Act: Westminster, Whitehall and the Homelessness Lobby', Twentieth Century British History, pp. 424-447. https://doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hws027

Crowson, N, Hilton, M, McKay, J & Marway, H 2011, 'Witness Seminar: The Voluntary Sector in 1980s Britain', Contemporary British History, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 499-519. https://doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2011.626658

Chapter

Crowson, N, McKay, J, Mulligan, W & Simms, B 2010, Britain in Europe? Conservative and Labour attitudes to European integration since World War 2. in The Primacy of Foreign Policy in British History 1660-2000. How stategic concerns shaped Modern Britain.

Book/Film/Article review

Crowson, N 2004, 'Review of Christopher J. Walker's Oliver Baldwin', Midland History, vol. 29.

Commissioned report

Hilton, M, McKay, J, Crowson, N & Mouhot, J 2010, The Big Society: civic participation and the state of modern Britain. History & Policy. <http://www.historyandpolicy.org/papers/policy-paper-103.html>

Editorial

Crowson, N 2011, 'Introduction: The Voluntary Sector in 1980s Britain', Contemporary British History, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 491-498. https://doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2011.623861

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Crowson, N, Matthew, HCG & Harrison, B 2004, Collin Brooks. in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Crowson, N, Matthew, HCG & Harrison, B 2004, Douglas Hacking. in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Crowson, N, Matthew, HCG & Harrison, B 2004, Lord Kilmany (William Anstruther-Gray). in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Homelessness in modern Britain

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office

Expertise

Histories of Homelessness in Modern Britain

Homelessness

Housing 

Local Government 

Charities 

Social Welfare