MA Work

MA Work

The skills of being a historian take time to master and any good historian worth his or her salt will readily admit the learning process is an ongoing one. As for myself, many of the pieces of this puzzle fell into place when I undertook an MA at Birkbeck in social and cultural history. The course was modular and we had the opportunity to engage in robust debate during seminars. Instead of exams, we were asked to formulate a question on a topic that tied in with each module and then write an essay of around 5,000 words.

We also undertook a dissertation. I have presented most of the work here, although not in its original form as I subsequently tightened up much of the word flow and edited numerous paragraphs that were not precise enough for my liking in their original form. If you are a casual reader, please do not let the academic angle put you off as I have tried to maintain a clear and engaging style and I'm sure there is much here to fire your interest.


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Creed of the Assassins

Long misunderstood not only in the West, but also in the Middle East, this essay explores the medieval Nizari Ismaili vision of an ideal state.

Cathedrals of Consumption

Were London's department stores of the 1870s-1890s a place for female emancipation or gilded cages? And are there shared themes within the rise of German department stores?   

Morris on the Thames

Throughout his life, WIlliam Morris was influenced by his love of the River Thames. This essay explores his relationship with the river, particularly through the prism of News from Nowhere.

Top of the Docks

Today, the London dock strike of 1889 is viewed as a seminal event in British labour relations and industrial disputes. But what were the real motives of the strikers and their leadership?

Saloon Service

New York City witnessed the rise and rise of saloons from 1845-1895, causing consternation among self-appointed moral guardians. Beyond the vitriol, life in the saloon was a very different world.

The Twilight City

This dissertation explores the lives of London's vagrants and streetwalkers from 1880-1905. It discusses the voices and stories of those thought lost to the maws of late Victorian and early Edwardian poverty, vice and violence. 

Devolved City

A 'lost section' of my dissertation that sought to look at late Victorian and early Edwardian views on degeneration and mutation. This includes commentary on the life and death of Joeseph Merrick.