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Dr Hugh PembertonBA(Open), MA in Contemporary History (with distinction), PhD(Bristol)

Reader in Contemporary British History

Hugh Pemberton

Dr Hugh PembertonBA(Open), MA in Contemporary History (with distinction), PhD(Bristol)

Reader in Contemporary British History

Member of

Research interests

Dr Hugh Pemberton is an expert on the history of of modern Britain, and particularly of British politics, from the Second World War to the very contemporary. Having spent a decade working as a business analyst in the financial services sector he took his PhD in 2001 (in the departments of Politics and History at the University of Bristol), returning to a teaching post at Bristol in 2004 after two years at the LSE as British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow and before that as ESRC Posdoctoral Fellow at Bristol.

His research focuses principally on economic and social policy (the latter in terms of British pensions); public administration and governance; party politics; and  the politics of change. His work engages with and seeks empirically to test political science theories of historical institutionalism for he has a particular interest in the means by which radical policy change occurs (and why it sometimes doesn't), in why such change sometimes turns out to be temporary despite intentions to the contrary, and in why it is that changes that might seem apparently superficial sometimes turn out have enduring consequences.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Dr Pemberton is also a founder member of the Political Science Association's Politics and History specialist group and the GW4 Modern British Politics and Political History group, and is editor of the Pensions History blog.

He is currently pursuing three parallel research projects:

  1. The postwar history of British pensions (being Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Thatcher's Pension Reforms project).
  2. The history of Civil Service reform under John Major (this research is being conducted for the Cabinet Office as part of an Official History of the Civil Service). 
  3. The recent history of the Labour party

Contact details

Office: G32 in 9 Woodland Rd [Map]

Consultation hours: see Consultation Hours booking form 

Phone: +44 (0)117 92 87621   Emailh.pemberton@bristol.ac.uk   Twitter@hugh_pemberton

Personal website: hughpemberton.org.uk   Project website: thatchers-pension-reforms.uk 

Research supervision

Dr Pemberton welcomes proposals from prospective postgraduate students interested in researching contemporary British history, particularly but not exclusively in the fields of economic/social policy, the process of government, and party politics. Projects relating to the history of Penguin Books would also be welcomed (he was previously an investigator on the AHRC-funded Penguin Archive Project).

Examples of current and recently completed PhD and M.Phil projects supervised by Dr Pemberton include:

  • Ideas and the Labour Party, 2010 to 2015
  • The actuarial profession in the 1980s
  • The Labour Party and 'nostalgia'
  • Penguin Specials and the centre-left in Britain
  • The development of personal social services in postwar Britain
  • The Thatcherite economic policy revolution of the 1980s
  • The social costs of unemployment in the 1970s and 1980s
  • A history of the Avonmouth chemical works
  • The Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers since the 1970s

Teaching

Offers the following units in the undergraduate BA in History:

  • Britain's Cold War (1st year Special Topic)
  • Politics and Society in Contemporary Britain (2nd year Lecture / Response unit)
  • Decade of Discord: Britain in the 1970s (2nd year Special Field)
  • The Politics of 'Decline' in Britain's Postwar 'Golden Age' and After (3rd year LRU)

Contributes to teaching contemporary British history on

  • the MA in History and
  • Approaching the Past: Approaching Britain's Past (1st year undergraduate outline unit)

Students may find useful Dr Pemberton's online guide to research resources for students studying contemporary British history.

 

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Research interests (key words)

Modern and Contemporary British history; British political history; economic policy history; industrial policy and industrial strategy; UK pensions history; pensions policy; Labour party history; the post-war Conservative party; ideas and policy; history of government; history of public administration; governance; historical institutionalism; policy and history; history and politics.

Structured keywords (Cabot, PolicyBristol, WUN etc..)

  • PolicyBristolBusinessAndEconomicPolicy
  • PolicyBristolGovernanceAndPublicServices

View research connections

Postal address:
13-15 Woodland Road
Clifton
Bristol
United Kingdom

Selected research outputs

  1. E-pub ahead of print

    WASPI's is (mostly) a campaign for inequality

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Published

    UK industrial strategy, redux: Reinvention or a return to the 1970s?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Accepted/In press
  4. Published
  5. Published

    Thatcher's Pension Reforms: Project Report no. 3

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  6. Published
  7. Published
  8. Published

    Factionalism in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 2015 leadership contest

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  9. Published

    Thatcher's Pension Reforms: Project Report no. 2

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  10. Published

    Against pensions reform: 'We're in danger of forgetting why annuities were invented'

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  11. Published

    Sir William Sinclair Ryrie, civil servant and World Bank official

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  12. Published

    Reassessing 1970s Britain (paperback)

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  13. Published

    Thatcher's Pension Reforms: Project Report no. 1

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  14. Published

    Labour's lost grassroots: The rise and fall of party membership

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  15. Published

    Reassessing 1970s Britain

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  16. Published
  17. Published
  18. Published

    Economic policy and practice

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  19. Published

    The benighted decade? Reassessing the 1970s

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  20. Published
  21. Published

    Macro-economic crisis and policy revolution

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  22. Published

    Strange days indeed: British politics in the 1970s

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  23. Published

    The 'winter of discontent' in British politics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  24. Published

    The 'winter of discontent' in British politics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  25. Published
  26. Published

    Reassessing the seventies: the benighted decade

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  27. Published

    Review of Periodical Literature Published in 2007 (VI Since 1945)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  28. Published
  29. Published
  30. Published

    From 'National Superannuation' to 'Personal Accounts'

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  31. Published

    30-year rule review

    Research output: Other contribution

  32. Published

    Prudence

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  33. Published

    Review of periodical literature published in 2006. (V) Since 1945

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  34. Published

    Review of periodical literature published in 2005. (V) Since 1945

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  35. Published
  36. Published

    Back to the future: history and the pensions crisis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  37. Published

    Britain's Pensions Crisis: History and Policy

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  38. Published
  39. Published

    Taxation and Labour's modernisation programme

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  40. Published

    Taxation and Labour's modernisation programme, 1964-66

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  41. Published

    "In the long run we shall all be dead": Politics and pensions in postwar Britain

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  42. Published
  43. Published

    The transformation of the economy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  44. Published

    Relative decline and British governance in the 1960s

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  45. Published

    Learning and change in 20th-century British economic policy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  46. Published

    3 entries

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  47. Published

    An Affluent Society?: Britain's post-war 'golden age' revisited

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  48. Published

    Policy Learning and British Governance in the 1960s

    Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book

  49. Published

    Learning, governance and economic policy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  50. Published

    A taxing task: combating Britain's relative decline in the 1960s

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  51. Published

    Policy networks and policy learning: UK economic policy in the 1960s and 1970s

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (128) »

Selected research projects

  1. The Thatcherite pension reforms

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch project

  2. The Official History of the Civil Service since Fulton

    Project: Non-synched ProjectResearch project

View all (3) »

Selected awards and activities

  1. GW4 Modern British Politics and History Seminar

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  2. The battle for Labour: MPs must surrender to Corbyn or leave

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachMedia article or participation

  3. Moderates’ naivety lost them control

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachMedia article or participation

  4. BBC R4 World This Weekend,interview

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachMedia article or participation

  5. Breaking boundaries

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference

  6. Submission to the Labour Party International Policy Commission's consideration of future policy on the UK nuclear deterrent

    Activity: External academic engagementContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

  7. The Welfare State at the End of the Long Boom, 1965 to 1980

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference

  8. Economic History Society Annual Conference 2016

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference

  9. 66th Political Studies Association annual conference

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference

  10. 66th Political Studies Association annual conference

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference

  11. 66th Political Studies Association annual conference

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in conference

  12. Response to HM Treasury’s Consultation Document Cm 9102 (Strengthening the incentive to save: a consultation on pensions tax relief)

    Activity: External academic engagementContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

  13. The Citizen's Charter: not such a joke after all?

    Activity: External academic engagementInvited talk

  14. HM Treasury. Better Training for Faster Growth: the Industrial Training Act, 1964

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachPublic lecture/debate/seminar

  15. Bank of England: Review of Transparency

    Activity: External academic engagementContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

  16. Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts workshop ‘The legacy of the 1970s’

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  17. Friends of the Earth / History & Policy workshop: 'How history can inform FoE strategising', Kings College London

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachWork on advisory panels for social community and cultural engagement

  18. H.M. Treasury. The Treasury in the 1960s: the 'great reappraisal'

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachPublic lecture/debate/seminar

  19. IGov: Theorising Governance Change for a Sustainable Economy

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  20. 'The 1970s', School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol, research seminar

    Activity: Conference participationParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

View all (27) »