Dr Shapely graduated with a first class degree in politics and modern history from Salford University in 1990. He then worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Alan Kidd on a series of relational databases which plotted the size and scale of the voluntary sector across nineteenth century Manchester and Salford. He joined the School in 1998 as a lecturer in modern and contemporary British history. His initial research interests included urban history, voluntarism and governance in the nineteenth century. More recently, his research has focused on decision-making, governance and policy in twentieth century Britain.