I am Professor of Modern History and a specialist in the history of modern Britain, particularly during the 20th and 21st centuries. My research focuses on the history of working-class life and women's lives. I am interested in ordinary people's experience and memory of the past. My research examines class and gender relations, social mobility, work and education - often by using oral histories and unpublished autobiographies.
I am very interested in how history can inform the present and help us create a more egalitarian future. I work closely with communities and organisations that share this vision. These include MaD Theatre Company in Manchester, the Socialist Educational Association, A Woman's Place UK and policymakers interested in sex and class equality. I write for the Guardian and other publications on equality and education.
I greatly enjoy teaching and among the papers I offer are Approaches to History to First Year history students and a Special Subject entitled Britain from the Bomb to the Beatles, 1945-67, which is studied by Finalists. I am delighted to hear from prospective graduate students interested in researching feminism, sex and class inequality and working-class life.
Tastes of Honey The Making of Shelagh Delaney and a Cultural Revolution
Real life.’ Though little known today, this is the inspiring story of how one woman shook up the establishment of the 1950s and 60s, and helped trigger a cultural revolution.
Biography & Autobiography
'The myths of social mobility'
Move On Up social mobility, opportunity and equality in the 21st century
An introduction to A Taste of Honey
Phoenix Rising: Working-Class Life and Urban Reconstruction, c. 1945–1967
Journal of British Studies
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Between 1945 and 1967, England's town and city centers were reconstructed. This article argues that this process of civic redevelopment transformed working-class people's experience of urban life. Frequently represented as a social problem or simply ignored by prewar planning and political rhetoric on civic participation, working-class people were treated as vital to civic life in postwar England. This change had profound implications for people's experience of civic life and for class identity. However, historians of urban change have focused on planners and politicians, while the few histories of postwar working-class life that exist concentrate on selfhood, home, and neighborhood life. Drawing on personal testimonies, press reports, and planning documents this paper argues that working-class people were active agents of change in England's civic centers. Moreover, the experience of civic reconstruction encouraged the development of a sense of entitlement for a more secure and fuller life than earlier generations had experienced. The rebuilding of the civic centers was widely recognized as an achievement of ordinary working-class people, and the rebuilt centers were understood as places that should and could provide for their needs.</jats:p>
The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class 1910-2010
'There was nothing extraordinary about my childhood or background. And yet I looked in vain for any aspect of my family's story when I went to university to read history, and continued to search fruitlessly for it throughout the next decade. Eventually I realised I would have to write this history myself.'
What was it really like to live through the twentieth century? In 1910 three-quarters of the population were working class, but their story has been ignored until now.
Based on the first-person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, award-winning historian Selina Todd reveals an unexpected Britain where cinema audiences shook their fists at footage of Winston Churchill, communities supported strikers, and where pools winners (like Viv Nicholson) refused to become respectable. Charting the rise of the working class, through two world wars to their fall in Thatcher's Britain and today, Todd tells their story for the first time, in their own words.
Uncovering a huge hidden swathe of Britain's past, The People is the vivid history of a revolutionary century and the people who really made Britain great.