Personal profile


I am an Associate Professor in History and an Associate Member of the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. 

I joined Northumbria University in 2017, having previously held the EHS Eileen Power Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research and research positions at the universities of Oxford and Hull. My research interests include gender and small business ownership, bankruptcy, and the law. I am the author of Female Entrepreneurship in Nineteenth-Century England: Engagement in the Urban Economy (Palgrave, 2016) and my latest book Deserted Wives and Economic Divorce in Nineteenth Century England and Wales: ‘For Wives Alone’ will be published by Hart Publishing in November 2024.

I have published widely on the interaction between gender and legal and financial institutions, including the edited collections Women and the Land 1500-1900 (Boydell, 2019) and Female Entrepreneurs in the Long Nineteenth Century: A Global Perspective (Palgrave, 2020), and articles in journals including Economic History Review, Business History and the Journal of Legal History. My article, ‘Petitions to the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes: A New Methodological Approach to the History of Divorce, 1857–1923’ was Highly Commended by the judges of the British Records Association’s Harley Prize 2022.

I am currently working on two research projects:

A New Methodological Approach to the History of Divorce, 1857-1923. Funded by an ESRC New Investigator award, this project employs a new, multidisciplinary methodology that combines mixed-method historical approaches with feminist legal theory and digital humanities to address 4 key research strands (a) History of divorce and domestic abuse; (b) Economic cost of divorce; (c) Child custody and mediation; and (d) Development of the family law profession.

Bankruptcy in Edwardian Britain, 1901-1914. This project [funded by an Economic History Society Carnevali Small Research Grant] uses previously unexamined Board of Trade Official Receiver’s Reports to examine business and personal failure in an era often seen as period of economic prosperity, social decadence, and entrepreneurial opportunity. I will use this new material as a starting point to write the first economic, social, legal, and cultural history of bankruptcy in Edwardian Britain.

In 2023/24, I am convening modules including the ‘Humanities Skills Portfolio’ (Foundation Year) and ‘The British Women’s Suffrage Movement in History and Memory’ (final year BA). I am also leading the ‘Law Pathway’ in the Your Graduate Future module (second year BA) with Dr Helen Rutherford (Northumbria Law School) and external partners The National Archives and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums. I was nominated for a Student Led Teaching Award in 2022, and in 2023 received the Student Led Teaching Award for 'Outstanding Staff Member for Arts, Design and Social Science'. 

Current PhD supervision includes:

Kerri Armstrong, Crime, Conviction and Rehabilitation: Women and the Criminal Justice System in the Late Nineteenth Century England, (funded by the Northumbria Research Development Fund)

Abby Hammond, The Women in the Ledger Stones: New Histories at Newcastle Cathedral (funded by an AHRC NBCDTP CDA award)

Oliver Gunning, Migration, Mobility and Glass-Making in Northern Britain, 1680-1800, (funded by the Northumbria Research Development Fund)

June Watson, Female Agency, Influence, and Informal Science Networks, within the Global World of Sir Joseph Banks 1780-1820, (funded by an AHRC NBCDTP award)

I welcome enquiries about postgraduate study in economic, social, gender and legal history in nineteenth century Britain and the wider world.

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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

History, PhD

12 Oct 201231 Dec 2099

Award Date: 12 Oct 2012


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