Professor Nicola Verdon BA, MA, PhD
Professor of Modern British 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. Since 2018 I have been Professor of Modern History.
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.
College of Social Sciences and Arts
BA (Hons) History.
Level 4: Britain Transformed: Economic and Social Change since 1800.
Level 5: Northern Soul: Regional Identities in the North of England, 1800 to the present. Level 6: History Research project
The Women's War Agricultural Committees during the First World War and its aftermath.
Shepherds and shearers in Britain and Australia, c.1800-1918 (with Emma Robertson, La Trobe University, Victoria).
Verdon, N. (2021). Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700-1830. HISTORIA AGRARIA, (84), 276-279.
Verdon, N. (2020). Skill, status and the agricultural workforce in Victorian England. History. http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.12916
Sayer, K., & Verdon, N. (2019). Alun Howkins, 1947–2018: Introduction. History, 104 (363), 819-828. http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.12915
Verdon, N. (2019). FEATURE: REMEMBERING ALUN HOWKINS. History Workshop Journal.
Verdon, N. (2019). Richard Olney, Farming and society in north Lincolnshire: the Dixons of Holton-le-Moor, 1741-1906 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2018. pp. xvii+214. 2 maps. 16 plates. ISBN 9781910653050 Hbk. £30). The Economic History Review, 72 (1), 407-408. http://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12830
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
Gazeley, I., & Verdon, N. (2014). The first poverty line? Davies' and Eden's investigation of rural poverty in the late 18th-century England. Explorations in Economic History, 51, 94-108. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.eeh.2012.09.001
Verdon, N. (2012). Business and pleasure : middle-class women’s work and the professionalization of farming in England, 1890-1939. Journal of British Studies, 51 (2), 393-415. http://doi.org/10.1086/663981
Verdon, N. (2010). "The modern countrywoman”: farm women, domesticity and social change in interwar Britain. History Workshop Journal, 70 (1), 86-107. http://doi.org/10.1093/hwj/dbq016
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. (2009). The state and the farm worker: the evolution of the minimum wage in agriculture in England and Wales, 1909-24. Agricultural history review, 57 (2), 257-274.
Verdon, N. (2009). Agricultural labour and the contested nature of women’s work in interwar England and Wales. The Historical Journal, 52 (1), 109-130. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X08007334
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
Verdon, N. (2002). The rural labour market in the early nineteenth century: women’s and children’s employment, family income, and the 1834 Poor Law Report. The Economic History Review, 55 (2), 299-323. http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0289.00222
Verdon, N. (2001). The employment of women and children in agriculture: a reassessment of agricultural gangs in nineteenth-century Norfolk. The Agricultural history review, 49 (1), 41-55.
Verdon, N. (2021). 'The food production campaign in the First World War: The Derbyshire War Agriculture Committees, 1915-1919'. In Hoyle, R.W. (Ed.) Histories of People and Landscape: Essays on the Sheffield region in memory of David Hey. (pp. 151-169). Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press: https://www.herts.ac.uk/uhpress/books-content/histories-of-people-and-landscape
Verdon, N. (2017). Physically a splendid race' or 'hardened and brutalised by unsuitable toil'?: Unravelling the Position of Women Workers in Rural England during the Golden Age of Agriculture. In The Golden Age: Essays in British Social and Economic History, 1850-1870. (pp. 225-236).
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
Verdon, N. (2014). Child work in agriculture in Britain. In The World of Child Labor: An Historical and Regional Survey. (pp. 558-562).
Verdon, N. (2013). The 'lady farmer': Gender, widowhood and farming in Victorian England. In The farmer in England, 1650-1980. (pp. 241-262).
Verdon, N. (2017). Working the land: A history of the farmworker in England from 1850 to the present day. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9780230304390
Batty, E., Eadson, W., Pattison, B., Stevens, M., Twells, A., & Verdon, N. (2018). Evaluation of Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Centenary Activity: Year 4 report. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/publications/fww_centenary_evaluation_year_4_accessibility_check_10_08_19.pdf
Eadson, W., Pattison, B., Stevens, M., Twells, A., & Verdon, N. (2017). Evaluation of Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War centenary activity: year 3 report. Sheffield Hallam University, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/sites/default/files/media/corporate/first_world_war_centenary_activity_year_3_report_full_report.pdf
Theses / Dissertations
Sheridan, M.R. (2016). The bombshell - more than munitions 1917-1919. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Peterson, N., & Verdon, N.
Webster, I. (2015). The Public Works Loan Board 1817-76 and the financing of public infrastructure. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Verdon, N., & Lewis, M.
Holland, S. (2013). Contrasting rural communities: The experience of South Yorkshire in the mid-nineteenth century. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Verdon, N., Lewis, M., & Cain, P.
I currently act as external examiner on the BA History programme at the University of Reading, and for the Local History programme at Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge.
I supervise postgraduates working on various 19th and 20th century British history projects.
Current postgraduate students are working on:
- The Aid Spain movement in interwar Britain.
- Greening the Industrial Model Village: historical geographies of environmental entanglement at Saltaire and the making of a peri-urban heritage landscape (AHRC Heritage consortium).
- Gender and identity: The relationship between femininity and dress in Victorian mining districts in England and Wales (AHRC Heritage consortium).
- Narrative, Identity and Protest: The Swing Riots in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 1830-2.
- The Making of the Green Working Class: Nature, Ecology and Environment.
Past postgraduate students have completed projects on:
- Business Enterprise, Consumer Culture and Civic Engagement, 1890s-1930s: Sheffield Entrepreneur, John Graves.
- 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.
Nicola has an extensive background in 19th and 20th century British history.