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Nicola Verdon

Dr Nicola Verdon BA, MA, PhD

Professor of Modern History


I joined Sheffield Hallam as a Reader in History in January 2011. I research and teach British history in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on gender and labour, rural society, poverty and standards of living. I am currently Professor of Modern History.

  • About

    I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex and then moved to the University of Leicester for my MA and PhD.

    I have held various lecturing positions since completing my doctorate in 1999, including at Harlaxton College, the University of Reading and the University of Sussex.

    I took up the position of Reader in History at Sheffield Hallam in January 2011. I was promoted to Professor of Modern British History in 2018.

    My research interests focus on life and labour in the British countryside in the 19th and 20th centuries. I have published many journal articles and book chapters on women’s and children’s work in agriculture, on poverty and standards of living, and on family life on British farms, and I am the author of two books, Rural Women Workers in 19th century England (Boydell, 2002) and Working the Land: A History of the Farmworker in England from 1850 to the Present Day (Palgrave, 2017).

    I have worked with several institutions, including theatres, museums and the broadcast media, and enjoy communicating my knowledge of history to a wider public audience. I contributed an impact case-study on ‘Life and Labour in the British Countryside’ to the 2014 REF.

  • Teaching

    Subject area



    BA History
    BA English and History
    MRes History


    Level 4: The Making of Modern Britain, c.1780-1918
    Level 5: History in Practice
    Level 6: Northern Soul: Regional Identities in the North of England, 1800 to the Present

  • Research

    Current projects:
    Women's War Agricultural Committees in WWI and its aftermath
    Shepherds and shearers in Britain and Australia, c.1800-1918 (with Emma Robertson, La Trobe University, Victoria)

  • Publications

    Journal articles

    Verdon, N. (2016). Left out in the cold: Village women and agricultural labour in England and Wales during the First World War. Twentieth Century British History, 27 (1), 1-25. http://doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hwv039

    Verdon, N. (2010). "The modern countrywoman": farm women, domesticity and social change in interwar Britain. History workshop journal : HWJ, (70), 87-107

    Howkins, A., & Verdon, N. (2008). Adaptable and sustainable? Male farm service and the agricultural labour force in midland and southern England, c.1850-1925. Economic History Review, 61 (2), 467-495. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2007.00405.x

    Book chapters

    Sayer, K., & Verdon, N. (2017). The Professionalization of Farming for Women in Late Victorian Britain : the Role and Legacy of the Langham Place Feminists. In Ambrose, L.M., & Jensen, J.M. (Eds.) Recipes for Rural Life : Food History and Women Professionals, 1880-1965 (pp. 17-33). Iowa, USA: University of Iowa Press

  • Other activities

    2017-present External Examiner, Certificate and Advanced Diploma in Local History, University of Cambridge.

    In the past I have acted as External Examiner for the University of Huddersfield History programmes (2013-16), Leeds Trinity University History programmes (2014-17), University of Hertfordshire, MA History, 2008-10, and the University of Winchester, BA History, 2009-13. I have examined PhDs at the Universities of Newcastle, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Aberystwyth, Northampton, London and Nottingham.

  • Postgraduate supervision

    I am currently supervising the following PhDs:
    The Aid Spain movement in interwar Britain
    Farm, Field and Factory: exploring the significance of rural space in the development of a model village and World Heritage Site at Saltaire (AHRC Heritage consortium)
    Female identity in Victorian mining women (AHRC Heritage consortium)

    Contrasting Rural Communities: The Experience of South Yorkshire in the mid Nineteenth Century
    The Financing of Public Policy: The Public Works Loan Board, 1817-76

  • Media

    Nicola has an extensive background in 19th and 20th century British history.

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