I gained a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Lancaster in 1982, and an MA in Modern Social History at Lancaster in 1983. I was awarded my doctorate at the University of Warwick in 1989 on the history of betting and gambling in England from 1823-1961.
I have previously worked at the Open University and the University of Bedfordshire. Following my early research on the history of betting and gambling in Britain, I increasingly focused on suburbanization and new town development, and currently work on air raids, the reconstruction of London since the Blitz, and sectarianism and suburban housing in Belfast. So 'conflict and the city' sums up my present research neatly enough.
I have widespread academic impact. My research has been translated into Dutch, French, Italian and Japanese, and I have given conference and seminar papers in Australia, Britain, Canada, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain and the USA. I have over 450 citations on Google Scholar. I have also been widely interviewed by the media, notably for BBC Radio 4, BBC Three Counties Radio, and the Economist.
Serving on the AHRC Peer Review College, the Steering Committee of History UK (HE), the Editorial Board of Planning Perspectives, the Editorial Board of the University of Westminster Press, and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Administrative Sciences (Yönetim Bilimleri Dergisi (Turkey), I am actively engaged in national and international networks of academic historians. I am one of the international participants in the University of Antwerp's Urban Studies Institute network “Urban Agency: The Historical Fabrication of the City as an object of study”, a five-year programme of workshops that began in January, 2016. In December 2015 I was invited onto the 'Panel of experts' of the Romualdo del Bianco Foundation, Florence.
I have refereed articles for many historical journals, and also town planning journals. I am a peer reviewer for the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and FWO (Belgium).