I’m an oral historian, genealogist, local history researcher, house historian and heritage creative practitioner based in north west England.
In 2020 I completed a Masters degree in Local History, with Merit, from the Open University, following on from gaining my Postgraduate Diploma in History, with Distinction, in 2018. My dissertation explored changes to small-scale farming in Haslingden, Lancashire brought about by the Industrial Revolution, focusing on the lives of the Woods farming family from 1837 to 1888. In 2015 I gained a first-class honours degree in Humanities with Creative Writing and Art History, again from the Open University.
From November 2021 I manage the Woodland Trust’s Smithills Estate History Group in their endeavours to research, write and publish a book about the history of the ordinary people who lived there in the past. This is part of a wider historical project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, focusing on the history and social history of this Bolton estate. Over several centuries it has operated as an industrial site, leisure venue and farming area.
In 2020, I adminstered two projects for the National Trust. The Steam Yacht Gondola Oral History Project is part of celebrations surrounding 40 years since the yacht’s restoration, and the Fell Foot Park Oral History Project on the shores of Windermere concentrates on its history since the 1930s. Between 2019 and 2021 I also managed the Woodland Trust’s Smithills Estate Oral History Project.
During 2017 I worked via tender with the programming team at Lakeland Arts developing scripts and voice recordings for four augmented realities as part of the Blackwell Project at Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere. My research centred on the Holt family and their interaction with Blackwell as a holiday home.
In May 2017 I was awarded postgraduate funding from the Open University’s Crowther Fund to fund a year long study project about aspects of the Industrial Revolution in the Scottish Borders. In addition to my research, I participated in letterpress workshops at Robert Smail’s Printworks in Innerleithen. This culminated in a piece of my letterpress artwork being accepted for display at the Remembrance 100 exhibition in Carlisle during the summer of 2018.
I’m a member of the Oral History Society, British Association for Local History, Economic History Society, British Agricultural History Society, Ambleside Oral History Group, and am a Friend of the Regional Heritage Centre at Lancaster University. I’m a non-executive Director at Farfield Mill Community Benefit Society, based in Sedbergh.