Collaborative UK based PhD, 'Poverty, Work and Punishment: Vagrancy Across the Midlands, 1834 to 1930'

Sarah Badcock's picture
February 20, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Social History / Studies, British History / Studies, Economic History / Studies

Poverty, Work and Punishment: Vagrancy Across the Midlands, 1834 to 1930 ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship

Universities of Leicester and Nottingham, in partnership with The National Archives

The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 14 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham.

The Universities of Leicester and Nottingham as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborative partner The National Archives to commence in October 2018.

The vagrant is an iconic figure in welfare history. Fear over this group was a factor in the implementation of the Old Poor Law. For its 1834 successor, the New Poor Law (NPL) the vagrant is a historiographical leitmotif for policy success (where vagrant numbers fell) or failure. Despite the survival of considerable sources for quantitative and qualitative analysis, however, the nineteenth-century vagrant remains much-neglected. Your study will begin to rectify this situation. You will focus on the nature and experience of vagrancy in 15 Poor Law Unions selected for their coverage of different socio-economic typologies, in a broad band running from Cambridgeshire through to Shropshire and Staffordshire. The studentship will particularly suit those with interests in social and welfare policy, class, power, identity and agency.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate an excellent record of academic achievement in History or a related discipline, and potential for completing an original and independent research project in modern history, using social and/or economic historical methods of enquiry.

The successful candidate will be joining a strong team of existing PhD students in social and economic history working under the supervision of Professor Steve King and Dr Sarah Badcock. Dr Paul Carter, Principal Modern Domestic Records Specialist at The National Archives, will provide additional supervision.

This studentship offers a unique opportunity for the award-holder to receive training and gain experience in The National Archive, as well as to undertake an original research project.

Candidates who already have an ESRC-accredited Masters in History or a cognate discipline, and can demonstrate extensive expertise in social science research methods, may apply for a +3 PhD programme. Candidates without Masters degrees and those with a non-ESRC-accredited Masters degree should apply for the 1+3 programme comprising one year of training in relevant social science research methods (to Masters level) plus 3 years of supervised research (to PhD level).

Application Process

To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Collaborative Studentship application form available online here and email this to Louise Taylor,

Application deadline: Tuesday 20 February 2018

Shortlisted applicants will be required to provide two references and attend an interview. We anticipate interviews for this studentship will take place in Leicester on the 5 or 6 March.

Our ESRC studentships cover fees and maintenance stipend and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available only to successful applicants who fulfil eligibility criteria. To check your eligibility, visit:

Informal enquiries about the research, application process or the University of Leicester School of History, Politics and International Relations, where the student will be based, can be directed to Professor Steven King ( 

Contact Info: 

Professor Steve King, Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Leicester ; Email:

Dr Sarah Badcock, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham: email:

Contact Email: