I have always had an interest in railways, ever since my grandfather took me to a steam railway at the age of 2. I completed my undergraduate degree in history at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham, and a Masters degree in War Studies at King’s College London. I then chose to undertake a PhD in Railway Studies with the University of York and National Railway Museum’s Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History. I submitted my thesis and passed my viva in 2013.
I am currently employed by the University of York’s Centre for Lifelong Learning as a Associate Lecturer. I am teaching a completely on-line Postgraduate Diploma in railway studies, which will cover many aspects of British railway history. The first intake of students began their studies in late September of this year.
My thesis was on the management of the London and South Western Railway between 1870 and 1911, and focussed on strategic and operational decision-making within the company over this period. For this reason, my academic interest in the railways is focused on management of Britain’s railways between 1870 and 1914. I am currently working on a number of academic projects and papers in the following areas:
- Railway marketing between 1870 and 1914
- The interlocking directorships of Britain’s railway directors, 1880-1914.
I am also currently working with Dr. Kevin Tennent of the University of York’s Management School on a project to investigate the management of early British tram networks. At the moment we are working on a paper on strategic decision-making within the London County Council’s Tramways before the First World War.
News, July 2016: I have just been awarded the Business Archives Council’s bursary for research into business archives, which will be used to look at the relationship between the railways and the brewers of Whitbread of London and Bass of Burton-on-Trent.
Over the last four and and a half years or so this interest has been reflected in my popular TurnipRail blog, on which I have posted about all sorts of topics, including, amongst other things, railwaywomen before 1914, labour relations, complaints of the Victorian traveller and the efficiency of British Rail in 1990s. Furthermore, I am working – sometimes slowly – towards publishing academic papers in the following areas of historical discourse:
- Female clerical labour on Britain’s railways, 1850-1914
- The complaints of the Victorian railway passenger before 1914
- The role, purpose and content of railway company magazines, 1881-1914
In addition to being a working academic, I am also available for consultancy work for production companies and publishers. My specialism is the railways of the Victorian and Edwardian period, encompassing the following areas:
- The construction of the railways.
- The railways’ impact on British society.
- Railways and the economy, trade and industry.
- The development of British railway operating practice and management.
- The relationship between government, politics and the railways.
I am also open to undertaking on-screen work.