Professor Siân PooleyBack to People

Subjects: History (and Joint Honours)
Department: History
College appointment: Tutorial Fellow
Academic position: Associate Professor
Officer: Tutor for Equality and Diversity
Phone: (+44) 1865 610350


I studied history as an undergraduate and graduate student at St John’s College, Cambridge, from where I was awarded my doctorate in 2010. I moved to Pembroke College, Cambridge as the Mark Kaplanoff Fellow in History, where I worked as a Junior Research Fellow for one year and then as a temporary lecturer. In October 2014, I came to Magdalen College as a tutorial fellow in Modern British History.


I teach the history of Britain since c.1800. I also work with Magdalen undergraduates on Approaches to History and Disciplines of History, courses that enable the exploration of the exciting conceptual, methodological and comparative questions that are raised by studying the past. I especially enjoy supervising final-year undergraduate and graduate students who are researching dissertations on diverse aspects of modern British social and cultural history. I would be happy to meet with any school groups or students who are interested in finding out more about studying history here.


My research is centred on the question of how social change and continuity happened in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. I am especially interested in studying the past through the relationships that mattered to children, men and women, and am currently working in two main areas. My doctoral research and the publications that emerged from this explore questions of change and diversity through a study of parenthood during the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century fertility decline, when couples halved the size of their families. This interest in how men and women were altered by the experience of forming relationships with their children grew into working collaboratively on a co-edited book on the passing on of parenthood between generations.My second area of research focuses on writing by children that was published in the seventy years before the Second World War. I am interested in how these young writers made themselves articulate in the popular press, the power relations within – and beyond – these spaces of communication, and what children’s writing tells us about generational change and the subjectivity of young people.


  • Co-edited with K. Qureshi, Reproductive cultures: the passing on of parenthood between generations (Berghahn: Oxford, forthcoming)
  • ‘“Leagues of Love” and “Column Comrades”: Children’s Responses to War in late-Victorian and Edwardian England’, in L. Paul and R. Johnston (eds) Children and the Great War: 1880-1919 (Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke, forthcoming)
  •  ‘Parenthood, child-rearing and fertility in England, 1850-1914’, History of the Family, 18:1 (2013), pp. 83-106
  • ‘“All we parents want is that our children’s health and lives should be regarded”: child health and parental concern in England, c.1860-1910’, Social History of Medicine, 23:3, (2010), pp. 528-48.
  • Co-edited with C.G. Pooley R. Lawton, The diary of Elizabeth Lee: growing up on Merseyside in the late nineteenth century (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).
  • ‘Domestic servants and their urban employers: a case study of Lancaster 1880-1914’, Economic History Review, 62: 2 (2009), pp. 405-29.