Dr Matthew Francis

Department of History
Reader in History (Education)

I am a political historian of twentieth century Britain, with a particular interest in conceptual history, political ideologies, and ideological change.


  • PhD Politics (Nottingham, 2012)
  • MA Contemporary British History (London, 2008)
  • BA History (Bristol, 2007)


I was appointed to a Teaching Fellowship in the Department of History in September 2012. Before moving to Birmingham I had been a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (2008-2011), where I also completed doctoral work exploring the influence of neoliberalism on contemporary British political ideologies.


First Year:

  • Practising History: Skills in History
  • Practising History: Approaches to History
  • The Economic History of Modern Britain, 1870-1990

Second Year:

  • Dissertation Preparation

Third Year:

  • Dissertation Supervision


  • Approaches to C20th British History


I am currently in the early stages of a project that will explore the politics of property in twentieth century Britain. Driven by the rapid expansion of owner-occupation, the transformation of patterns of property ownership ranks among the most remarkable features of the twentieth century. This project will explore the role that political agency (and ideology) played in this transformation, examining the measures that successive governments introduced to encourage the wider distribution of property and the political ideas that informed calls for the creation of a ‘property-owning democracy’.

I am also currently working – together with colleagues from the University of Nottingham and the People’s History Museum – to organise a conference to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Harold Wilson’s ‘White Heat’ speech. The event will draw on a combination of academic and witness contributions, and will explore the political, cultural, economic and scientific context of the speech, and assess its wider significance within recent British history.


Recent publications


Nakamura, T, Grimer, R, Gaston, C, Francis, M, Charman, J, Gaunt, P, Uchida, A, Sudo, A & Jeys, L 2013, 'The value of C-reactive protein and comorbidity in predicting survival of patients with high grade soft tissue sarcoma', European Journal of Cancer . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2012.09.004

View all publications in research portal


British party politics in the past and present; political history; Thatcherism, especially privatisation and the Right to Buy; electoral politics and voter behaviour, especially BAME voters.

Media experience

Matthew has experience as a media commentator – including on radio – on subjects ranging across British party politics and political history. He has also worked as a historical consultant for BBC Drama Birmingham.