People

Professor Peter Gurney

Professor
Department of History
Professor Peter Gurney
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873946

  • Location

    5NW.7.12, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    3-5 pm Thursday

Profile

Biography

I was born in Worcester in the West Midlands, passed the 11+ exam and attended the local grammar school, where I was taught a right-wing version of English history. After leaving school at 16, I worked for a few years as a laboratory assistant, then studied at Worcester Technical College and the University of Sussex, where I developed an interest in 'history from below'. I have taught at Sussex, Brighton, Glamorgan and Huddersfield Universities and the Northern College, the residential adult education college near Barnsley. I held the Knoop Research Fellowship in social and economic history at the University of Sheffield before coming to Essex in 1999. My published work represents an attempt to combine labour history with social and cultural history and I am currently editor of 'Labour History Review' and serve as an external examiner at the University of Leicester (BA) and the University of Limerick (MA). I still like to imagine myself as a rebel but am now sometimes unsure of the right cause. Previous PhD supervision The Fairtrade movement in modern Britain (Dr Kathryn Wheeler) Disability and masculinity in World War One (Dr Wendy Gagen) The provincial department store in Britain (Dr Susan Lomax) Race, femininity and nation in Caribbean beauty contests (Dr Rochelle Rowe: published as 'Imagining Caribbean womanhood: race, nation, and beauty contests, 1929-70'. Manchester University Press, 2013) The history of the London brewing trade, 1750-1850 (Dr Alan Pryor) Drug cultures in London, 1930-70 (Dr Elliott Hicks) British support for the Spanish Republic, 1936-39 (Dr Emily Mason: published as 'Democracy, Deeds and Dilemmas. Support for the Spanish Republic within British Civil Society, 1936-1939'. Sussex Academic Press, 2017) War, crime and popular politics in Essex and Kent, 1790-1820 (Dr Joe Cozens) Post-war tourism in north-east Essex (Dr Sean O'Dell) Current PhD students Joanna Crosby: A social and cultural history of the apple in Victorian England Christopher Timms: The culture of International Development in the United Kingdom, 1945-2000 Andrew McIntosh: Representations of Communism in interwar Britain Angela Miller: The implementation of the New Poor Law in Suffolk Percy Lomax: The decline of the Co-operative movement in postwar London Emma Bastin: The fashion industry and popular taste in the 1930s

Qualifications

  • BA University of Sussex

  • MA University of Sussex

  • DPhil University of Sussex

  • PGCE University of Leeds

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Consumerism and consumer movements

Popular politics and popular protest

Working-class culture and autobiography

Current research

Principal Investigator on an oral history research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust (£223k) entitled, 'National Service life stories: masculinity, class and the memory of conscription in Britain.'

The history of consumption and consumer movements

Conferences and presentations

'The Co-op and the Cold War', Socialism and the Cold War Conference, Queen's University Belfast, 2015.

2015

'History and Commitment', Conference marking 50 years of E.P. Thompsons The Making of the English Working Class, Peoples History Museum, Manchester, 2013.

2013

'Dickens and Consumer Culture', Royal College of Art, London, 2012.

2012

Co-operation and the new consumerism in Britain between the wars, Co-operative Movements in Interwar Europe Conference, University of Bologna, 2009.

2009

'The iconography of hunger in England during the Hungry Forties,' North American Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Victoria, B.C., 2007.

2007

'The politics of consumption in England during the Hungry Forties,' British Association for Victorian Studies Conference, University of Liverpool, 2006.

2006

'Consuming politics in post-war Britain', Cultures of Labour Conference, University of Ghent, 2003.

2003

'Scarcity, excess and consumer organising in mid-Victorian England', Nineteenth Century Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Florida, 2003.

2003

'The Crystal Palace, the working classes and consumer culture in Victorian England', Victorian Exhibitions Conference, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2001.

2001

'Mass consumption and the post-war working-class', Material Politics Conference, University of Cambridge, 1999.

1999

'Thomas Frost and the art of escapology in Victorian England', Representing Victorian Lives Conference, University of Leeds, 1999.

1999

'Co-operators, history and the nation', History Workshop 25, Ruskin College, Oxford, 1991.

1991

'From pacifism to a new world order: the Women's Co-operative Guild and the home front in Britain, 1939-45', Women's History Network Conference, University of Worcester, 2014.

1939

'Observing working-class sexuality in England in the 1930s', Sex, State and Society Conference, University of Umeå, Sweden, 1998.

1930

'The politics of working-class consumption in England, 1906-1926', Economic History Society Annual Conference, University of Lancaster, 1996.

1906

'Co-operation and working-class self-expression, 1880-1918', History Workshop 21, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1987.

1880

'Internationalism in the British Co-operative Movement, 1869-1917', Internationalism in the European Labour Movement Conference, International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam, 1985.

1869

'Languages of co-operation in Britain, 1860-1914', XI International Economic History Congress, Università Bocconi, Milan, 1994.

1860

'The economy in the popular mind in Britain, 1840-1914', British Association of Victorian Studies Conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2013.

1840

'The democratic idiom: languages of democracy in Britain, 1830-48', Contested Democracy Conference, Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, 2012.

1830

'Languages of democracy in England, 1830-48', Two Eras of Democracy Conference, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford, 2010.

1830

Teaching and supervision

  • Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (CS101)

  • The Making of the Modern World since 1750 (HR100)

  • The Common People: British Social History 1830-1950 (HR352)

  • Research Project (HR831)

  • The Making of Consumer Culture: Britain 1780-1960 (HR929)

  • Hidden Histories: class, gender and the rise of British democracy (HR103)

Publications

Journal articles (44)

Gurney, PJ., ‘The woman with the basket’: the Women’s Co-operative Guild and the politics of consumption in Britain during World War Two. Gender and History

Gurney, PJ., (2018). 'Voice of Civilisation': advertising and its critics in austerity Britain. Contemporary British History. 32 (2), 190-208

Gurney, PJ., (2018). ‘Co-operation and Communism cannot work side by side’: organised consumers and the early Cold War in Britain. Twentieth Century British History

Gurney, PJ., (2018). Frank Trentmann, Empire of Things. How We Became a World of Consumers, from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-first (London: Allen Lane, 2016). History: the journal of the Historical Association. 103 (2), 307-308

Gurney, PJ., (2018). Noel Thompson, Social Opulence and Private Restraint: The Consumer in British Socialist Thought Since 1800 (Oxford University Press, 2016). Cultural and Social History. 15 (2), 280-281

Gurney, PJ., (2015). The Age of Veneer?: Charles Dickens and the antinomies of Victorian consumer culture. Dickens Quarterly. 32 (3), 229-246

Gurney, PJ., (2015). 'The Curse of the Co-ops': Co-operation, the Mass Press and the Market in Interwar Britain. English Historical Review. 130 (547), 1479-1512

Gurney, PJ., (2015). John Wilson, Anthony Webster and Rachel Vorburg-Rugh, Building Co-operation. a Business History of the Co-operative Group, 1863-2013 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). Economic History Review. 68 (2), 737-739

Gurney, PJ., (2014). The Democratic Idiom: Languages of Democracy in the Chartist Movement. The Journal of Modern History. 86 (3), 566-602

Gurney, PJ., (2014). Emma Griffin, Liberty’s Dawn. A People’s History of the Industrial Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press. 2013). History: the journal of the Historical Association. 99 (4), 704-706

Gurney, PJ., (2014). Sean Nixon, Hard Sell: Advertising, Affluence and Transatlantic Relations, c. 1951-69 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013). Reviews in History

Gurney, PJ., (2013). History and Commitment: E.P. Thompson's Legacy. Labour History Review. 78 (3), 331-349

Gurney, PJ., (2013). Geoffrey Field, Blood, Sweat, and Toil. Remaking the British Working Class, 1939-1945 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). History: the journal of the Historical Association. 98 (3), 476-478

Gurney, PJ., (2012). Co-operation and the "new consumerism" in interwar England. Business History. 54 (6), 905-924

Gurney, PJ., (2012). Nicole Robertson, The Co-operative Movement and Communities in Britain, 1914-1960. Minding Their Own Business (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010). Labour History Review. 77 (3), 375-377

Gurney, PJ., (2012). John Bohstedt, The politics of provisions: food riots, moral economy, and market transition in England, c. 1550 – 1850 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010). Archiv fur Sozialgeschichte. 52

Gurney, PJ., (2012). Lawrence Black and Nicole Robertson (eds.), Consumerism and the co-operative movement in modern British history (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009). Economic History Review. 63 (2), 544-545

Gurney, PJ., (2010). Frank Trentmann, Free Trade Nation: Commerce, Consumption, and Civil Society in Modern Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). Victorian Studies. 53 (1), 139-140

Gurney, PJ., (2010). Deborah Cohen, Household Gods. The British and their Possessions (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006). BBC History Magazine. 11 (2), 74-74

Gurney, PJ., (2010). Krista Lysack, Come Buy, Come Buy: Shopping and the Culture of Consumption in Victorian Women’s Writing (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008). Journal of British Studies. 49 (1), 205-206

Gurney, PJ., (2010). Sean O’Connell, Credit and Community: Working-Class Debt in the UK Since 1880 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). Twentieth Century British History. 21 (1)

Gurney, PJ., (2009). Cooperazione, consumismo di massa e modernità. Gran Bretagna fra le due guerre, Revista della Cooperazione, Terza Serie Trimestrale. 2, 39-71

Gurney, PJ., (2009). Exclusive Dealing in the Chartist Movement. Labour History Review. 74 (1), 90-110

Gurney, PJ., (2009). "Rejoicing in Potatoes": The Politics of Consumption in England during the "Hungry Forties". Past and Present. 203 (1), 99-136

Gurney, PJ., (2009). Une remise en question de l’ “opulence”: le movement coopérative britannique après la Seconde Guerre mondiale [Contesting “affluence”: The British cooperative movement after the Second World War]. Revue Internationale de l’Économie Sociale. 318, 71-89

Gurney, PJ., (2009). Wanting and Having: New Histories of Scarcity and Excess in Modern Britain. Twentieth Century British History. 20 (1), 97-109

Gurney, PJ., (2009). Brian Maidment, Dusty Bob. A Cultural History of Dustmen, 1780–1870 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007). Urban History. 36 (1), 171-172

Gurney, PJ., (2007). Mary Hilson, Political Change and the Rise of Labour in Comparative Perspective: Britain and Sweden 1890–1920 (Oslo: Nordic Academic Press, 2006). Twentieth Century British History. 18 (2), 273-275

Gurney, PJ., (2006). "The sublime of the bazaar": A moment in the making of a consumer culture in mid-nineteenth century England. Journal of Social History. 40 (2), 385-405

Gurney, P., (2006). Working-class writers and the art of escapology in Victorian England: The case of Thomas Frost. Journal of British Studies. 45 (1), 51-71

Gurney, P., (2005). The battle of the consumer in postwar Britain. Journal of Modern History. 77 (4), 956-987

Gurney, PJ., (2005). Alan Burton, The British Consumer Co-operative Movement and Film, 1890s–1960s (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005). Urban History. 32 (3)

Gurney, PJ., (2005). Dominic Shellard, Kenneth Tynan: a Life (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003). Contemporary British History. 19 (2), 170-171

Gurney, PJ., (2003). Michael Saler, The Avant-Garde in Interwar England: Medieval Modernism and the London Underground (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). Contemporary British History. 17 (4), 113-114

Gurney, PJ., (2001). Alan Kidd and David Nicholls (eds.), Gender, Civic Culture and Consumerism: Middle-Class Identity in Britain, 1800-1940 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999). Gender and History. 13 (2), 408-409

Gurney, PJ., (1998). W. Hamish Fraser, Alexander Campbell and the Search for Socialism (Manchester: Holyoake Books, 1996). Labour History Review. 63 (2), 229-231

Gurney, PJ., (1997). "Intersex" and "dirty girls": Mass-observation and working-class sexuality in England in the 1930s. Journal of the History of Sexuality. 8 (3)

Gurney, PJ., (1997). Le debat sur la co-operation dans l'Angleterre Victorienne et Edwardienne. Histoire, économie et société. 16 (2)

Gurney, PJ., (1997). The politics of public space in Manchester, 1896-1919. Manchester Region History Review. XI

Gurney, PJ., (1995). Jean Turnbull and Jayne Southern, More Than Just a Shop. The History of the Co-op in Lancashire (Lancaster: Lancashire County Books, 1995). Labour History Review. 60 (1), 84-5

Gurney, PJ., (1995). Johnston Birchall, Co-op: The People’s Business (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994). Labour History Review. 60 (1), 84-85

Gurney, PJ., (1994). Heads, hands and the co-operative utopia: an essay in historiography. North West Labour History. 19

Gurney, PJ., (1994). The Middle Class Embrace: language, representation and the contest over co-operative forms in Britain, 1860-1914. Victorian Studies. 37 (2)

Gurney, PJ., (1991). David Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture, England 1750-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). Sociological Review. 39 (1), 197-199

Books (3)

Gurney, PJ., (2017). The Making of Consumer Culture in Modern Britain. Bloomsbury Academic. 9781441137210

Gurney, PJ., (2015). Wanting and having: Popular politics and liberal consumerism in England, 1830-70. Manchester University Press. 978-0-7190-9145-2

Gurney, P., (1996). Co-operative Culture and the Politics of Consumption in England, 1870-1930. Manchester University Press. 0719049504. 9780719049507

Book chapters (16)

Gurney, PJ., Thomas Frost (1821-1908). In: New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Editors: Goldman, L., . Oxford University Press

Gurney, PJ., (2015). A house divided: the Labour Party and the organised consumer in post-war Britain. In: Consuming Behaviours: identity, politics and pleasure in twentieth-century Britain. Editors: Rappaport, E., Crowley, M. and Trudgeon Dawson, S., . Bloomsbury Academic. 237- 251

Gurney, PJ., (2009). Co-operative Press. In: Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Editors: Brake, L. and Demoor, M., . Academia Press and The British Library. 142- 143

Gurney, PJ., (2009). G.J. Holyoake. In: Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Editors: Brake, L. and Demoor, M., . Academia Press and The British Library. 285- 286

Gurney, PJ., (2007). '"A Palace for the People"? The Crystal Palace and consumer culture in Victorian England. In: Victorian Prism. Refractions of the Crystal Palace. Editors: Buzard, J. and Childers, J., . University of Virginia Press. 138- 150. 9780813926032

Gurney, PJ., (2006). Cooperative Movement. In: Encyclopedia of the Age of Industry and Empire. Editors: Merriman, J. and Winter, J., . Charles Scribners Sons. 555- 557

Gurney, PJ., (2006). Percy Redfern (1875-1958). In: New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Editors: Goldman, L., . Oxford University Press

Gurney, PJ., (2003). Co-operative movement. In: The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought. Editors: Outhwaite, W., . Blackwell. 114- 116

Gurney, PJ., (2001). An appropriated space: the Great Exhibition, the Crystal Palace and the working class. In: The Great Exhibition of 1851: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Editors: Purbrick, L., . Manchester University Press. 114- 145. 9780719055928

Gurney, PJ., (2000). Observing working-class sexuality in England in the 1930s. In: Sex, State and Society. Comparative Perspectives on the History of Sexuality. Editors: Tedebrand, L-G., . Almqvist and Wiksell International. 301- 328. 9789171918710

Gurney, PJ., (1999). Labor's great arch: Co-operation and cultural revolution in Britain, 1795-1926. In: Consumers against Capitalism? Consumer Co-operation in Europe, North America and Japan, 1840-1990. Editors: Furlough, E. and Strickwerda, C., . Rowman & Littlefield. 135- 171. 9780847686490

Gurney, PJ., (1997). Measuring the distance: D. H. Lawrence, Raymond Williams and the quest for "community". In: Social Conditions, Status and Community, c.1860-1920. Editors: Laybourn, K., . Alan Sutton. 60- 83. 9780750910705

Gurney, PJ., (1995). L'abbraccio della bourghesia: linguaggi e modi di rappresentare la cooperazione in Gran Bretagna, 1860-1914. In: La Federconsorzi tra Stato liberale e fascismo. Editors: Fontana, S., . Laterza. 231- 268. 978-8842048060

Gurney, PJ., (1993). Co-operative movement. In: The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth Century Social Thought. Editors: Bottomore, T. and Outhwaite, W., . Blackwell. 111- 113

Gurney, PJ., (1988). "A Higher State of Civilisation and Happiness": Internationalism in the British Co-operative Movement c.1869-1917. In: Internationalism in the European Labour Movement: 1830-1940. Editors: Van der Linden, M. and Van Holthoon, F., . Brill. 543- 564. 9789004085558

Gurney, PJ., (1988). George Jacob Holyoake: Socialism, association and co-operation in nineteenth century England. In: New Views of Co-operation. Editors: Yeo, S., . Routledge. 52- 72. 978-0415025232

Grants and funding

2015

National Service Life Stories: masculinity, class and the memory of conscription in Britain

Leverhulme Trust

Contact

pjgurney@essex.ac.uk
+44 (0) 1206 873946

Location:

5NW.7.12, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

3-5 pm Thursday