Lewis Smith

Graduate Teaching Assistant
Department of History
Postgraduate Research Student
Department of History
 Lewis Smith
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872299

  • Location

    5NW.8.12, Colchester Campus


Ask me about
  • History of Industry, Advertising, Power, Race and Gender
  • Video Games and Historical Consumption


I am originally from Ipswich where I went to Copleston High School for my GCSE's and A-Levels. I came to Essex in 2013 as an undergraduate, where I studied Modern History and Politics. It was only upon writing my undergraduate dissertation that I realised that I wanted to stay in academia: I really loved crafting and owning a unique argument and becoming the expert. Since 2016 I have been a PhD student in the department and since 2018 I have been a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Making of the Modern World, and since 2020 I teach on Pandemics: Lessons from History. I have two fields: I have always been really interested in Industry, most notably the aviation and railway industries after the Second World War. In my thesis, I argue that the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) were essentially a propaganda organisation which aimed to subvert the British experience of social, economic, industrial and cultural decline, arguing that they developed and marketed a rigid conception of British identity against the changing notions of Britishness in the 1950s. I am also working on the representations of the railway industry in the 1970s and 1980s. I won the John Scholes Transport History Research Essay Competition in 2019 for my paper 'Marketing Modernity in the Age of Enterprise: Business, Family, and Prosperity in British Rails Age of the Train campaign, 1979-1984', which has been published in the Journal of Transport History. In 2019 I worked with the Essex Record Office as an Engagement Fellow funded by the British Society for the History of Science which aimed to raise engagement with the Marconi Photographic Section's records which I helped through public talks, publications and a mapping project called MarconiMapper. I currently work as a Research Assistant for the project titled Science, Technology and Innovation at the Essex Archives where I am working with a team to deliver a strategy for enhancing individual, community and commercial engagement through digital technology and creative practice under an EIRA funded ticket. I also co-founded History Indoors with my colleague Michael Sewell, which aims to bring academic history to the public virtually. In addition, it is my aim to combine my love of history with my love of gaming. People give lots of attention to the history of films and literature, but video games have already become the most popular form of media and say a lot about our consumption of history. Publications Smith, Lewis C., Simulation and Preserved Mobility Spaces, in B├╝scher, Monika, Freudendal-Pedersen, Malene, Kesselring, Sven and Grauslund Kristensen, Nikolaj (eds.) The Handbook on Methods and Applications for Mobilities Research, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020, pp.325-334. Smith, Lewis C., Marketing modernity: Business and family in British Rails Age of the Train campaign, 197984. The Journal of Transport History, 40(3), 363394. (2019). Smith, Lewis C., Sewell, Michael G., and Marshall, Sarah E., The Journal of the Ever Present Past, Essex Student Research Online (ESTRO), Vol 10, 2, Special Issue (2019) Available online at Smith, Lewis C., The Campus Sphere: An Examination of the Role of the Campus in the University of Essex Protests of 1968 and 1972, Essex Student Research Online (ESTRO), Issue 9, Vol 9, 4. (2017). Available online at Academic In Production Smith, Lewis C., Travel Inter-City like the men do: Gendering Britains Railway Advertising 1965-1979. Journal TBC (estimated publication date 2021 with Twentieth Century British History). Non-Academic The Friends of Historic Essex Newsletter. Untitled Piece on my work with the Marconi Photographic Section. Spring (2020). History at Essex. Mapping Marconi Across the World. [online] (2020) Available at: . Essex Record Office Blog, The Reach of The Marconi Photographic Section | . [online] (2019) Available at: The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS). (2020). Photographing the Air with the Marconi Photographic Section: BSHS Engagement Fellowship. [online] Available at: Conferences Women and Transport: Historical Perspectives, 3rd October 2020 (Accepted). Delivering the paper Travel Inter-City like the men do: Gendering Britains Railway Advertising 1965-1979. Hosted by the West of England and South Wales Women's History Network. The Transport Tavern, 3rd August 2020. Delivering a live talk on the British Overseas Airways Corporation with a colleague David Turner on his Transport Tavern series of videos (URL). History Indoors, 8th July 2020. Delivered a live online lecture entitled Modernising the Railways: British Rail, Marketing and People 1963-1997 which were subsequently published on YouTube (URL) and a Roundtable discussion with colleagues also published on YouTube (URL). Gender, Labour and Consumption in historical perspective, 13th 14th September 2019. Delivered the paper Marketing modernity: Business and family in British Rails Age of the Train campaign, 197984. University of Essex Department of History Research Seminar Lightning Talk. 13th December 2018. Delivered the paper BOACs Imagined Burdens: An examination through the British Airways Heritage Collection. Mobile Utopias: Pasts, Presents, Futures. University of Lancaster. In association with the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility. 2nd 4th November 2017. Delivered the paper The Age of the Train? British Rails Dream of the Utopian Railway. The Ever-Present Past, 14th October 2017. Conference Organiser and Panel Chair.


  • BA Hons. Modern History and Politcs University of Essex (2016)

  • MA History University of Essex (2017)

Research and professional activities


Midwife at Britains Rebirth: The British Overseas Airways Corporation and the projection of British Power

Supervisor: Matthew Grant , Alix Green

Research interests

Histories of Industry and Advertising

I am broadly interested in the relationship between British industry and the public and how it communicated to the public through advertising and marketing. I am also interested in issues of Identity, Cold War History, and Modern Controversies of History though this industrial and advertising lens. My research involves looking at the intersection between notions of British Decline, Decolonisation, and representations of British power during the Cold War, as well as how interpretations of society

Public and Digital History

I work on issues concerning the consumption of history through video games, looking at the way they reflect both their historical setting and reflect the nature of the time they were developed. Additionally, I am interested in the uses of Virtual Reality/ Virtual worlds/ Digital Simulation and their applications for historical research. I have a knowledge of R/Python Programming Languages.

+44 (0) 1206 872299


5NW.8.12, Colchester Campus

Working pattern:

My office hours are 10:30 - 11:30 on Tuesdays (via Zoom)