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I am a historian of industrial revolution England, and the north of England in particular. My recent research has concentrated on issues of gender and work in towns and I have assessed the impact of industrialisation on women’s employment, and specifically the degree to which the advent of modern capitalism marginalised women workers.

My last book built upon this work and examined the concept of ‘family strategy’ in terms of small family businesses, as well as exploring the emotional life of families and their use of domestic space. This book, Family and Business During the Industrial Revolution is available online here (free of charge): Access Family and Business During the Industrial Revolution

I am currently PI for the Faith in the Town project on lay piety in northern towns 1740-1830. This project focuses on ordinary people’s experiences of religion in urban areas in the North of England, between 1740 and 1830. We are looking primarily at diaries, letters, church and school records, business papers, maps and objects to find out the ways in which piety shaped the lives and outlooks of men, women and children living in the industrialising towns of the later eighteenth century. You can find out more here: https://faithinthetown.wordpress.com/

I am Professor of British History at the University of Manchester and Director of the John Rylands Research Institute. I also Chair of Manchester Histories, a charity that works with people and communities in Greater Manchester, am a Historical Advisor for the National Trust at Quarry Bank Mill, and Chair the Library Committee of Chetham’s Library.


You can find out more about me and my research on my University webpages.

If you are interested in information on individuals and families in trade in north-west England between 1760 and 1820, you can explore an earlier project database. This has information on 2487 individuals and 806 businesses.

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