Dr Nicole Robertson

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Dr Nicole Robertson

Associate Professor


Nicole Robertson works on nineteenth and twentieth-century British history, with a particular interest in labour, gender, and social history. She taught at the University of Nottingham and Northumbria University before joining Sheffield Hallam University. Nicole is currently Associate Professor (Reader) in Modern British History.


Nicole's research specialisms include white-collar work and work-based identity, the labour movement and grassroots activism, and consumerism.   

Her research has been funded by several fellowships and grants, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council Leadership Scheme and the R. H. Tawney Fellowship from the Economic History Society in conjunction with the Institute of Historical Research.  She has received an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Networking Grant, an Economic History Society Small Research Grant, and a grant from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Nicole has taught across a wide range of modules in modern history. She currently teaches 'Britain between the Wars: crisis, transformation and the people 1918-1939' and 'Making History'.  She also has extensive experience supervising research projects at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


College of Social Sciences and Arts

Courses taught:

  • BA (Hons) History


Her publications include work on feminism and the rise of the female office worker, the second labour government, leisure and the labour movement, and the co-operative movement and consumer activism.  She has recently co-edited 20th Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change (Routledge, 3rd edition, 2022) with John Singleton and Avram Taylor.

As Principle Investigator of 'The Clerical Profession and the Administrative Revolution: the Rise of the Modern Workplace in Britain', funded by an AHRC Fellowship, she delivered activities in partnership with the Working Class Movement Library (Salford) and Bishopsgate Institute (London). An online exhibition arising out of the project and delivered in partnership with Bishopsgate Institute can be viewed here:


She was Co-Investigator of the AHRC-funded research network 'Tailored Trades: Clothes, Labour and Professional Communities, 1880-1939', with partner organisations Bishopsgate Institute (London) and the People's History Museum (Manchester). Network events included academic workshops at Northumbria University and the University of Exeter, public lectures, school study days and exhibitions. Podcasts and digitised material can be found on the project website: https://tailoredtrades.exeter.ac.uk/

She is currently researching white-collar unions and redundancy in the service sector and exploring how communications unions respond to threats to job security.


Journal articles

Robertson, N. (2024). Women, workers, and women workers: Connections and tensions in transnational activism. International Review of Social History. http://doi.org/10.1017/s0020859024000075

Robertson, N. (2014). The business of leisure: sport, labour and co-operation in post-war Britain. Labor History, 55 (5), 638-653. http://doi.org/10.1080/0023656X.2014.961762

Robertson, N. (2012). ‘We try to serve you in every possible way’: The Ewloe Place co-operative society and the Ton Industrial co-operative society during the interwar years’. Llafur : journal of Welsh labour history = cylchgrawn hanes llafur Cymru, 11 (1), 20-35.

Robertson, N. (2012). Collective strength and mutual aid: Financial provisions for members of co-operative societies in Britain. Business History, 54 (6), 925-944. http://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2012.706895

Robertson, N. (2008). ‘“A good deal…and a good deal more”: member activity within co-operative societies’. Socialist History, 32, 18-35.

Book chapters

Robertson, N., Singleton, J., & Taylor, A. (2022). Introduction: Twentieth-century Britain. In Robertson, N., Singleton, J., & Taylor, A. (Eds.) 20th Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change. Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781003037118-1

Robertson, N. (2017). The Political Dividend: Co-operative Parties in the Midlands, 1917-39. In Labour's Grass Roots. (pp. 147-169). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781351154369-8

Robertson, N. (2017). Women at work: activism, feminism and the rise of the female office worker during the First World War and its immediate aftermath. In Labour and Working-Class Lives. Manchester University Press: http://doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9781784995270.003.0010

Robertson, N. (2011). The Second Labour Government and the Consumer. In Britain's Second Labour Government 1929-31: A Reappraisal. Eds John Shepherd, Jon Davis and Chris Wrigley. Manchester University Press

Robertson, N. (2009). ‘“Co-operation: the hope of the consumer”? The co-operative movement and consumer protection, 1914-60’. In Black, L., & Robertson, N. (Eds.) Consumerism and the Co-operative Movement in Modern British History: Taking Stock. Manchester University Press

Robertson, N. (2009). ‘A union of forces marching in the same direction’? The relationship between the Co- operative and Labour parties, 1918-39’. In Worley, M. (Ed.) The Foundations of the British Labour Party: Identities, Cultures and Perspectives, 1900-39. Ashgate


Robertson, N., Singleton, J., & Taylor, A. (Eds.). (2022). 20th Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change. (3rd). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003037118

Robertson, N. (2010). The Co-operative Movement and Communities in Britain 1914-60: minding their own business. Ashgate. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315615035

Black, L., & Robertson, N. (2009). Consumerism and the Co-operative Movement in Modern British History Taking Stock.

Theses / Dissertations

Hill, V.C. (2024). The Industrial Fatality in Post-Robens Britain, 1974 – 2014. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Robertson, N., Singleton, J., & Taylor, T. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00624

Other publications

Robertson, N. (n.d.). Hoster [née Kalisch], Constance Pauline (1864–1939), promoter of women’s employment and secretarial training. Oxford University Press: http://doi.org/10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.112230

Other activities

Nicole is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  She has previously served on the Economic History Society Council and as a Board Member of the National Co-operative Heritage Trust Archive Committee.  She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Society for the Study of Labour History.

Postgraduate supervision

Nicole supervises postgraduates working on 19th and 20th-century British history.

Current postgraduate students are working on:

• The Industrial Fatality in post-Robens Britain, 1974-2014

• Women’s Suffrage in Yorkshire: The non-militant perspectives

• Pacifism and War Resistance within the Communist Party of Great Britain, 1916-1929

Previous projects have included:

• Feminism, Pacifism and Internationalism: The Women’s International League, 1915-1935

• 'The Lady Who Dared' – An Examination of the 1914 Dronfield School

• ‘Lost all sense of the sea’: Popular Navalism and British National Identity, 1884-1939

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