Dr Malcolm Dick BA, PGCE, PhD

Dr Malcolm Dick

Department of History
Senior Lecturer in Regional and Local History

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a social and regional historian with teaching and research interests in the history of the West Midlands region after 1700 and the history of ethnic minorities and anti-slavery. I am also Editor-in-Chief of the History West Midlands project.


My first degree was in History and Political Studies and I gained a PhD at the University of Leicester, financed by the Economic and Social Research Council, which explored the relationships between ideologies, industrialization, urban growth and schooling for the poor in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century England. I began working at the University of Birmingham in 2004.

Before then I taught in comprehensive schools, sixth-form colleges and further and adult education. In the late 1990s, I was Director of Lifelong Learning and Head of Humanities and Social Sciences in a local college. Between 2000 and 2004, I managed two history projects for Birmingham City Council, and worked as an examiner for the Open College Network. I also worked as a National Expert Advisor for the Heritage Lottery Fund. My initial work at the University was within the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the School of Education, where I was Lecturer in History and Heritage and successfully secured finance from the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Social Fund for two projects.

Since 2007 I have been a member of staff in the School of History and Cultures. Currently, I am Director of the Centre for West Midlands History, one of the research centres in the School, and Convenor of the MA in West Midlands History, as well as a teacher of undergraduate modules and supervisor of research students who specialize mainly but not exclusively in the history of the Midlands.

Outside of the School I have also worked on MA programmes at the Ironbridge Institute and developing approaches to Impact and Knowledge Exchange within the College of Arts and Law. I am also on the board of the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University and on the committee of the journal Midland History. I work extensively with local heritage organizations to develop research projects, teaching programmes and public engagement activities. 



Third Year

  • Dissertation Supervision
  • Special Subject: Britain, the slave trade and anti-slavery


  • MA in West Midlands History
  • I am also involved in developing a cross-disciplinary distance learning MA in Heritage and Identity with colleagues in Archaeology.

Postgraduate supervision

I am able to offer supervision in the following areas:

The history of the West Midlands since 1700
The social and cultural history of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
I have successfully supervised several research degrees since 2010. These include:

Close Encounters: The Personal and Social Life of Anna Seward, 1742-1809 (with English), MLitt, 2011
Robert Bage's contribution to social equality (with English), MLitt, 2011
Elizabeth Cadbury, 1858-1951 (AHRC Collaborative PhD with Birmingham Archives and Heritage and the Centre for Quaker Studies), PhD, 2012
Constructing the eighteenth-century woman: the life and education of Sabrina Sidney, PhD, 2013
‘To the Bull Ring!’ Politics Protest and Policing in Birmingham during the early Chartist period, MRes, 2014
Samuel Johnson: a promoter of useful knowledge and social improvement, PhD, 2014
I am also supervising several research theses at the present time

The cultural journey of Anne Yearsley 1753- 1806
The carriage of goods in and out of Birmingham in the eighteenth century
Industrialisation and urbanisation in Broseley, Shropshire
The origins, development and influence of William Shenstone’s landscape design at the Leasowes, Halesowen
Paying the price for industrialisation: the experience of a Black Country town, Oldbury, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Intellectual communities and industry in Shropshire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
The origins, development and influence of William Shenstone’s landscape design at the Leasowes, Halesowen
Urban gardens in the West Midlands manufacturing towns of the eighteenth century
George Edmunds and the making of Birmingham radicalism
Entrepreneurial influence and technological change: the rise and decline of the West Midlands cut-nail trade, c.1811-1914
The development of reformatory and industrial schools in Victorian Birmingham, 1850 to c. 1900
Medical care in the workhouses in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, 1839-1912
The development of a late nineteenth-century Birmingham suburb: Moseley, 1850-1900
Reasons to remember: commemorating the great and the good in late Victorian and Edwardian Birmingham
Birmingham exceptionalism, Joseph Chamberlain and the 1906 general election
Birmingham manufacturing and its workforce during the Second World War
Politics, governance and the shaping of Smethwick since 1945

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


My research and publications interests are in the history of the West Midlands with special reference to the Midlands Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century, the development of Birmingham and the Black Country and the history of ethnic minority communities. I have contributed to books on approaches to the study of local history and Matthew Boulton. I have also co-edited an edition of the journal Midland History on the history of ethnic communities in the Midlands. Other interests of mine include the impact of industrial development and the representation of heritage, past and present. My current projects include work on early Quaker industrialists, John Baskerville (the Birmingham industrialist and printer) and James Watt (the entrepreneur and inventor).

My initial research and publications were in the social history of mass schooling in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Since 2000, my interest has shifted to explore the history of the Midlands region. I managed and acted as editor of the Millennibrum Project (Birmingham City Council) from 2000 to 2002, which created a multi-media archive of Birmingham's history since 1945. I also managed and directed the research for the Revolutionary Players Project (Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery) from 2002 to 2004, which created a digital resource for students and researchers on the history of the West Midlands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk.

I also ran the Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project which resulted in an edited publication, Joseph Priestley and Birmingham (2005), an exhibition, town trail and DVD, Joseph Priestley: an eighteenth-century scientist (2007). I also ran the Joseph Priestley and Birmingham Project which resulted in an edited publication, (2005), an exhibition, town trail and DVD, (2007).

Other activities

I believe in working collaboratively with heritage organisations, community groups and independent scholars who have an interest in historical research and the creation and dissemination of knowledge. I have acted as a consultant for Hindu and Muslim history projects in Birmingham and worked on the advisory boards of three projects for Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery: Equiano, Matthew Boulton 2009 and Birmingham: a City in the Making. I have been a National Expert Advisor for the Heritage Lottery Fund and a member of the Heritage Committee of Birmingham Civic Society and co-chair of the Heritage Committee of the Lunar Society. I have also lectured to community groups and local and national heritage organizations on historical subjects and diversity issues. I am a trustee of the Black Country Living Museum, Vice President of the Pen Trade Museum. 

I believe in working collaboratively with academics outside of History and to this end, I am helping to develop a cross-disciplinary project on James Watt with academics in other schools, heritage organisations and local communities. I am also collaborating with Professor Caroline Archer of Birmingham City University to develop a range of projects devoted to John Baskerville.


Recent publications


Dudrah, R & Dick, M 2011, Ethnic Community HIstories in the Midlands, Special Edition of Midlands HIstory. vol. 36, Not Known.

Wilson, PK, Dolan, EA & Dick, M 2010, Ann Seward's Life of Erasmus Darwin. Brewin Books.

Dick, M, Wilson, PK & Dolan, BA 2010, Anna Seward's Life of Erasmus Darwin. Brewin Books.

Dick, M 2010, Birmingham: A Social History after 1945. Jones-Sands Publishing.

Dick, M, Abbas, T & Dudrah, R 2006, Ethnicity and Culture in the Global City. Not Known.


Dick, M 2011, 'Birmingham Anglo-Jewry c 1780-c1880: Origins, Experiences and Representations', Midland History, vol. 36, no. 2.

Dudrah, R & Dick, M 2011, 'Introduction: Ethnic Community Histories in the Midlands', Midland History, vol. 36, no. 2.

Dick, M 2008, 'Discourses for the new industrial world: industrialisation and the education of the public in late eighteenth-century Britain', History of Education, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 567-584. https://doi.org/10.1080/00467600802101918

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Reinarz, J, Chinn, C & Dick, M 2016, Industry and Illness: Investing in Health and Medical Provision. in C Chinn & M Dick (eds), Birmingham: The Workshop of the World. Liverpool University Press. <http://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/80803>


baggot, A, Dick, M, den, K & Dick, M 2012, The Death of Matthew Boulton 1809: Ceremony, COntroversy and Commemoration. in Matthew Boulton - Enterpirising Industrialist of the Enlightenment.

Dyer, C & Dick, M 2009, Locality and diversity: minority ethnic communities in the writing of Billingham's history. in Local History: New Directions after Hoskins.

Dick, M, McCulloch, G & Crook, D 2008, ‘Sunday School’ and ‘Public Library’. in The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Education.

Book/Film/Article review

Dick, M 2011, ''A Victorian Class Conflict?' Schoolteaching and the Parson, Priest and Minister, 1837-1902', History of Education, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 411-413. https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2011.560900

Dick, M 2007, 'Popular science and public opinion in eighteenth-century France', Paedagogica Historica, vol. 43, no. 6, pp. 855-857.


Dick, M & Watts, R 2008, 'Eighteenth-century education: discourses and informal agencies', History of Education, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 509-512. https://doi.org/10.1080/00467600802132749

View all publications in research portal



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  • Innovation and technological change