Dr Phil Child

Dr Phil Child

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Research Fellow

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Phil is a political historian of modern Britain with an interest in housing, cities and voluntary action. He is also the departmental lead for the Civil Society and Volunteering research theme in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology.  


  • PhD in History, University of Exeter (2016)
  • MPhil in Modern European History, King's College, University of Cambridge (2012)
  • BA (Hons) in History with European Study, University of Exeter (2010)


Phil joined the University of Birmingham in 2017 as a Research Fellow within the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC). He is currently working on the Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘The Spirit of Social Action: change and continuity in the voluntary sector, 1945 to the present day,’ which questions how a wide range of voluntary organisations adapted (or didn’t adapt) to changes in social policy and funding streams at the local level in Birmingham over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Phil completed his PhD at the University of Exeter in 2016, entitled 'The Heights of Modernity: the Labour Party and the Politics of Urban Transformation, 1945-70'. His research examined the ways in which political ideology intersected with urban policy in the post-war period, and he has since had work published on the Labour Party’s approach to rent regulation in mid-twentieth century. 


Phil’s research interests centre on histories of politics, housing, urban policy and social activism in Britain. He is currently investigating how a wide variety of locally-focused voluntary organisations in Birmingham adapted to changes in social policy throughout the second half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, whether a housing action group operating amongst the Afro-Caribbean community in 1970s/1980s Handsworth, a sexual violence project in the 1980s or the Birmingham branch of a Catholic social action movement throughout the period of study. 

He has previously written on the interrelationship between ideology and urban policy, and has published on attitudes to private renting within the Labour Party. Phil is particularly interested in the politics of the private rented sector in modern Britain, and conceptions of 'community' throughout the post-war period.  


 ‘Landlordism, Rent Regulation and the Labour Party in mid-twentieth century Britain, 1950-64’Twentieth Century British History, 29:1 (March 2018), 79-103