Senior Lecturer in History.
Head of School, Arts and Humanities.
Associate Dean for Curriculum, Qualifications and Partnerships 2017 to 2021.
I joined the OU in 2000 after research and teaching posts at the University of Portsmouth and the University of Chichester including a British Academy funded project, ‘Autobiography and the Victorian middle-class’. I have continued to develop research and teaching on nineteenth-century British socio-economic and cultural history. Working at the OU has enabled me to pursue interests in inter-disciplinarity, opening up traditional topics to new methods, questions and approaches, and helping make British history relevant to a broader range of students.
My research interests are centred on responses to, and perceptions of, industrial and urban life in nineteenth-century Britain; in particular, the relationship between political economy, social investigation and the everyday experience of business and work.
‘Life writing and Victorian culture’
‘Capital and labour: Manufacturing consensus’
‘Work in Nineteenth Century London’
I teach the social and cultural history of Britain in relation to the wider world. Contributions to teaching include:
Always keen to use interdiscplinary approaches to open new questions, I worked with Art Historians on ‘Art of Benin: changing relations between Europe and Africa’ for the undergraduate foundation course The Arts Past and Present and with English Literature on Victorian Manchester, exploring different responses to industrialisation through a range of voices and texts.
I am committed to life-long learning and as Associate Dean for Curriculum, Qualifications and Partnerships, took part in the Curriculum Plan and Review which developed strategies for a broad-based curriculum portfolio, one that can meet the diverse interests of a wide range of students.
Currently supervising PhD students on aspects of nineteenth century social and cultural history and would be interested in hearing from students considering a thesis on culture and society (including class and class relations), the market and social reform in nineteenth century Britain.
I am a member of the Social History Society and one of the convenors of the strand on 'Economies, culture and consumption'.
[Book Review] Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth-Century London by Oskar Jensen (2023)
The London Journal ((Early access))
Time, history and the making of the industrial middle class: the story of Samuel Smith (2017-02)
Social History, 42(1) (pp. 29-51)
Work, poverty and modernity in Mayhew's London (2014-12-01)
Journal of Victorian Culture, 19(4) (pp. 507-519)
Investigating work in late nineteenth-century London (2011-04)
History Workshop Journal, 71(1) (pp. 173-193)
Capital and community: limited liability and attempts to democratize the market in mid-Nineteenth Century England (2002)
Victorian Studies, 45(1 Special) (pp. 93-120)
The self-made man: businessmen and their autobiographies in nineteenth century Britain (2000)
Business Archives, 80 (pp. 12-30)
Industrial regulation, urban space and the boundaries of the workplace: mid-Victorian Nottingham (1999)
Gray, Robert and Loftus, Donna
Urban History, 26(2) (pp. 211-229)
Markets and culture (2018-02-02)
In: Handley, Sasha; McWilliam, Rohan and Noakes, Lucy eds. New Directions in Social and Cultural History (pp. 109-128)
ISBN : 978-1-4725-8080-1 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London
Entrepreneurialism or gentlemanly capitalism (2012-03-27)
In: Hewitt, Martin ed. The Victorian World. Routledge Worlds
ISBN : 9780415491877 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, UK
Self-made men and the civic: time, space and narrative in late nineteenth-century autobiography (2011)
In: Baggerman, Arianne; Dekker, Rudolph and Mascuch, Michael eds. Controlling Time and Shaping the Self. Developments in Autobiographical Writing since the Sixteenth Century. Egodocuments and History (3)
ISBN : 9789004195004 | Publisher : Brill | Published : Leiden
Limited liability, market democracy, and the social organization of production in mid-nineteenth century Britain (2009)
In: Henry, Nancy and Schmitt, Cannon eds. Victorian Investments: New Perspectives on Finance and Culture (pp. 79-97)
ISBN : 9780253220271 | Publisher : Indiana University Press | Published : Bloomington
The self in society: middle-class men and autobiography (2006-03)
In: Amigoni, David ed. Life Writing and Victorian Culture. The Nineteenth Century (pp. 67-86)
ISBN : 754635317 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK
Industrial conciliation, class co-operation and the urban landscape in mid-Victorian England (2000-04)
In: Morris, Robert J. and Trainor, Richard H. eds. Urban Governance: Britain and Beyond Since 1750. Historical Urban Studies Series (pp. 182-198)
ISBN : 9780754600152 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot