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Professor Hugh PembertonB.A.(Open), M.A. in Contemporary History (with distinction), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Professor of Contemporary British History

Hugh Pemberton

Professor Hugh PembertonB.A.(Open), M.A. in Contemporary History (with distinction), Ph.D.(Bristol)

Professor of Contemporary British History

Member of

Research interests

Professor 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 UK 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, Prof. 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 he coordinates the University of Bristol's partnership with History & Policy.

He is currently pursuing three parallel research projects:

  1. The implementation of neoliberalism in the UK, explored through the Thatcher governments' reform of 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

Address: University of Bristol, Department of History, 9 Woodland Rd, Bristol BS8 1TB, UK.

Office: G32 at the front of 9 Woodland Rd [Map]

Consultation hours: see booking form 

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

Personal website: hughpemberton.org.uk   Project website: pensions-history.uk

Research supervision

Prof. 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:

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

Teaching

Offers a range of undergraduate units on modern and contemporary British history in the  BA in History and contributes to teaching on the MA in History.

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

 

Research interests

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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; pensions crisis; Labour party history; Conservative party history; Thatcher and Thatcherism; ideas and policy; history of government; history of public administration; governance; historical institutionalism; policy and history; history and politics.

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • PolicyBristolBusinessAndEconomicPolicy
  • PolicyBristolGovernanceAndPublicServices

View research connections

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

Selected research outputs

  1. Published

    WASPI's is (mostly) a campaign for inequality

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Published

    UK pensions: the making and breaking of a welfare consensus

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

  3. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. E-pub ahead of print
  5. Published
  6. Published

    Thatcher's Pension Reforms: Project Report no. 3

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  7. Published
  8. Published
  9. Published

    Factionalism in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 2015 leadership contest

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

  10. Published

    Thatcher's Pension Reforms: Project Report no. 2

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  11. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  12. Published

    Sir William Sinclair Ryrie, civil servant and World Bank official

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

  13. Published

    Reassessing 1970s Britain (paperback)

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  14. Published

    Thatcher's Pension Reforms: Project Report no. 1

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  15. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  16. Published

    Reassessing 1970s Britain

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  17. Published
  18. Published
  19. Published

    Economic policy and practice

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

  20. Published

    The benighted decade? Reassessing the 1970s

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

  21. Published
  22. Published

    Macro-economic crisis and policy revolution

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  23. Published

    Strange Days Indeed: British Politics in the 1970s

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

  24. Published

    The 'winter of discontent' in British politics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  25. Published

    The 'winter of discontent' in British politics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  26. Published
  27. Published

    Reassessing the seventies: the benighted decade

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  28. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  29. Published
  30. Published
  31. Published

    From 'National Superannuation' to 'Personal Accounts'

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

  32. Published

    30-year rule review

    Research output: Other contribution

  33. Published

    Prudence

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  34. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  35. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  36. Published
  37. Published

    Back to the future: history and the pensions crisis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  38. Published

    Britain's Pensions Crisis: History and Policy

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  39. Published
  40. Published

    Taxation and Labour's modernisation programme

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

  41. Published

    Taxation and Labour's modernisation programme, 1964-66

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  42. 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

  43. Published
  44. Published

    The transformation of the economy

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

  45. Published

    Relative decline and British governance in the 1960s

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  46. Published

    Learning and change in 20th-century British economic policy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  47. Published

    3 entries

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

  48. Published

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

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book

  49. Published

    Policy Learning and British Governance in the 1960s

    Research output: Book/ReportAuthored book

  50. Published

    Learning, governance and economic policy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  51. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  52. Published

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (141) »

Selected research projects

  1. The Thatcherite pension reforms

    Project: ResearchResearch Standard

View all (3) »

Selected awards and activities

  1. GW4 Modern British Politics and History Seminar

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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

    Activity: Other activity typesMedia coverage or participation

  3. Moderates’ naivety lost them control

    Activity: Other activity typesMedia coverage or participation

  4. BBC R4 World This Weekend,interview

    Activity: Other activity typesMedia coverage or participation

  5. Breaking boundaries

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  6. Labour Party International Policy Commission (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesAdvisory work for/on national or international committee or working group

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

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  8. Economic History Society Annual Conference 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  9. 66th Political Studies Association annual conference

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  10. 66th Political Studies Association annual conference

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  11. 66th Political Studies Association annual conference

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  12. HM Treasury (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesAdvisory work for/on national or international committee or working group

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

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

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

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic talk, debate, discussion

  15. Bank of England (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesAdvisory work for/on national or international committee or working group

  16. Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts, workshop ‘The final countdown: writing about numeracy and numbers

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  18. Friends of the Earth (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesAdvisory work for/on panel for social community or cultural engagement Advisory work for/on

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

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic talk, debate, discussion

  20. IGov: Theorising Governance Change for a Sustainable Economy

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

View all (32) »