Tom Hulme


  • Room 01.004 - 17 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: - Urban culture from the late 19th to mid-20th century in Britain, the USA, and Northern Ireland - The nature of citizenship and belonging - The place of the past, and especially of historical re-enactment


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My interests are in two (sometimes overlapping) areas: urban culture (1880-1940), in Britain, the US and (most recently) Ireland; and the popular place of the past in modern Britain.

In terms of the first theme, my book, After the Shock City: Urban Culture and the Making of Modern Citizenship (Boydell, 2019), uses the former 'shock cities' of Manchester and Chicago to understand both the theory and reality of civic belonging. It covers the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, and ranges broadly across several areas: philosophy; festivals; re-enactments; youth culture; and welfare. Reviews: Urban History, Journal of British Studies, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of American HistoryEducational Science Review [German]. I have maintained an interest in how cities are governed, and recently co-edited, with Simon Gunn, New Approaches to Governance and Rule in Urban Europe since 1500 (Routledge, 2020). 

My secondary interest in 'the place of the past' came with an AHRC-funded collaborative project, run by Professor Paul Readman at King's College London, on historical pageants in Britain (1905-2016). Historical pageants were immensely popular forms of local amateur re-enactment, usually taking place outside to crowds numbering in their thousands. We created a database of these events for Britain, and have co-authored widely: on medievalism in English Historical Review (2018), the First World War in Historical Research (2017), and education in History of Education (2019). My single-authored article on civic boosterism was published in Urban History (2017). An edited volume was also recently published open-access with UCL Press (2020), and we are working on a monograph (expected 2023).

I am currently engaged in two projects that expand my research themes:

  1. I am exploring cultures and experiences of (homo)sexuality in Belfast and its surrounding region, from the late-19th to mid-20th century. I have written a short article about this research for Gay Times (Jan, 2019 - if you would like a digital copy, please do get in contact via email), have given a public talk on Belfast between the 1890s and 1910s (available online), and have an article on Belfast during the First World War forthcoming with Irish Historical Studies (2021).
  2. I am leading an AHRC-funded (2018-2021) project titled Voyaging through History: The Mayflower and Britain, 1620-2020. Dr Martha Vandrei (Exeter) is the co-investigator, Dr Ed Downey (QUB) is the research associate, and we are partnered with the British Library and the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. This project traces the 'afterlife' of the voyage across the last four hundred years in Britain by looking at its portrayal in art, literature, and commemorations. For more information you can visit our website.


My student meeting hours are 12-1pm on Wednesday (during term time) - in these times of COVID-19 iwe will have to meet on Teams.

I am keen to supervise PhD  theses on modern urban history (c. 1880-1960), especially on topics such as belonging and community, festivals and celebrations, historical re-enactment and pageantry, education and citizenship, and local government and governance. I am happy to take topics on Britain, the USA, and Ireland, but also to explore geographically comparative work more broadly.

Current PhD students

Jamie Nugent, '"Making Ulster the tourists Mecca": tourism, identity and modernization in the north of Ireland, 1901-1971' (Primary supervisor, AHRC Northern Bridge 2020-)

Rhianne Morgan, 'Belfast baths: Exploring and interpreting the historic spaces of the Victorian industrial city' (Secondary supervisor, AHRC Northern Bridge 2017-)

Tom Ward, 'Queer citizenship in contemporary Britain, 1967-2005' (Secondary supervisor, Department of Education 2020-)


I was awarded my PhD in Urban History from the University of Leicester in 2013. Before taking up my current post, I was an Early Career Lecturer at the Institute of Historical Research (2015-2016), and a Research Associate at King's College London (2013-2015). 

I'm a strong supporter of LGBT+ rights; I sit on the committee of the LGBT+ Staff Network, and have written a short piece about teaching queer history in Northern Ireland.


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