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Mental health in the nineteenth century

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Personal profile


My first degree in History was completed at Loughborough University and I then moved to Nottingham University for my PhD. For a short time I worked as  post doctoral student on a Leverhulme project before becoming a lecturer at the University of Northampton. I then led the BA History degree programme and became Subject Leader for History. I because Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Education and Humanities in 2016 and Dean of Research, Impact and Innovation in 2020.

In terms of wider responsibilities I was co-editor of the journal Family and Community History from 2013-2018. I chaired the Inclusive Student Experience Group from 2016-2019 where there was a clear focus on the attainment gap and I led the University on an Advance HE Raising Attainment project with nine other universities.  From 2019 to March 2021 my ket focus was on UON's REF submission.



Research Interests


My PhD from Nottingham University (1996) was titled The Renaissance of the English Market Town: A Study of Six Nottinghamshire Market Towns 1680-1840 and focused on the economic, social and cultural development of small market towns in the long eighteenth century. My current research interests lie within the history of medicine and more specifically mental health and asylums in the nineteenth century. The areas I have published on include the politics behind the development of nineteenth-century lunatic asylums, decision-making in asylum admissions, the violently insane and the impact of insanity on family and friends. I am also interested in the medicalisation of poverty in nineteenth-century nosologies of madness, admissions and discharges from the Northampton General Lunatic Asylum, charity, insanity and the middle classes.

Since November 2017 when I became Chair of the University of Northampton's Inclusive Student Experience Group, I have developed a strong interest in the experience of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Groups who enter University and I am currently the University lead on an Advance HE project looking at closing the awarding gap for our GEM students.



Teaching Interests

My teaching experience and interests lie in Early Modern European History c1480-1700, Eighteenth-century British History and my third year module focuses on Heresy and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe. At MA Level I teach on a history of medicine module.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, BA History, Loughborough University

PhD, The Renaissance of the English Market Town: A Study of Six Nottinghamshire Market Towns 1680-1840, University of Nottingham


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