Hannah Barker

Hannah Barker


Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I joined The University of Manchester in 2000. Before that I lectured at the University of Keele and Worcester College, Oxford.


Research interests

My research focuses largely on the late Georgian period and the early industrial revolution in Britain, and on the north of England in particular. However, an interest in local and community history means that I am also active in research on twentieth-century Britain. Some of my early publications were on print culture, popular politics and public opinion and examined the relationship between press and public, and specifically the degree to which social elites could control print and direct the nature of public debate.

More recent research has concentrated on issues of gender, work, family and religious faith in towns. I have assessed the impact of industrialisation on women's employment, and specifically the degree to which the advent of modern capitalism marginalised women workers in my book The Business of Women (2007). My most recent monograph, Family and Business During the Industrial Revolution (2017) builds upon this intervention and examines the concept of 'family strategy' in terms of small family businesses. Family and Business won the Social History Society Book of the Year for 2017. You can find more details of this project as well as an online searchable project website for family and local historians here.

I have recently completed a project on banknote forgery and retailers in London with Sarah Green, and you can find our Open Acess article in the Journal of British Studies. I am currently completing a monograph with Kate Gibson, Jeremy Gregory and Carys Brown on religion in northern English towns, 1740-1830. This will be published by Oxford University Press in 2024/5. The research for this book was funded by the AHRC and you can find further details and some initial findings here. I was also involved in a recent multi-disciplinary AHRC project on the Mary Hamilton papers  with David Denison, Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, Sophie Coulombeau, Cassie Upph, Tino Oudesluijs and Christine Wallis, and am part of a team working on the AHRC-funded 'Our Heritage, Our Stories: Linking and searching community-generated digital content to develop the people's national collection’ based at the Universities of Glasgow and Manchester and The National Archives.

Recent research grants

  • AHRC Towards a National Collection grant to fund ‘Our Heritage, Our Stories: Linking and searching community-generated digital content to develop the people's national collection’. CI in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Glasgow, The National Archives and Computer Science at the University of Manchester (2021-4),      £3.63m.
  • AHRC Capabilities of Collections grant to fund ‘Increasing capability for collections research at the University of Manchester' (2021),    £778,351.
  • AHRC standard grant for ‘Unlocking the Mary Hamilton papers’ (2019-2022), £996,330.
  • AHRC standard grant to fund ‘Faith in the town: lay religion, urbanization and industrialization in northern England, 1740-1830’ (2018-21), £588,000.
  • AHRC KTP grant on academic research and the National Trust (2017-19), £140,000.
  • ESRC IAA grant for 'The Quarry Bank Project' (2016-17), £19, 275.
  • ESRC IAA grant for 'Making Histories Public' (2015-16), £15,570.
  • ESRC project grant for 'Family and Business in North-West England, 1760-1820' (2008-10), £228,296.


I have supervised PhD students working on:

  • Cotton workers in Bolton and Oldham in the C20th (Victoria Brookes, 2001-5);
  • Comic periodicals of the C19th (Robert Lovejoy, 2002-5);
  • The Royal Manchester Botanical Gardens (Ann Brooks, 2002-8, p/t);
  • Manchester popular politics in the C18th and C19th (Alex Smith, 2004-8);
  • Popular politics and visual culture in early C19th northern towns (an AHRC collaborative studentship, held jointly with the People's History Museum: Stephen Connolly, 2006-9);
  • Masculinity in C19th clubs and associations in the NW of England (Alexandra Mitchell, 2008-12);
  • The market for exotic goods in the C18th (Ben Wilcock, 2010-16 p/t);
  • Letter press printers of the late C18th and C19th (Emma Greenwood, 2010-16 p/t);
  • Popular culture in the provinces (Nathan Booth, 2012-15);
  • The Georgian batchelor (Helen Metcalfe, 2014-17);
  • Childbirth in the long eighteenth century (Sarah Fox, 2012-17 p/t);
  • The 'Little Circle' in Manchester politics (David Knott, 2014-18),
  • The social history of Quarry Bank Mill (an ESRC collaborative studentship, held jointly with the National Trust: Grant Collier, 2016-20);
  • Gender and comfort in the English country house (Ruby Rutter, 2017-);
  • Memory, emotion and the lifecycle: Women and the production, ownership and dissemination of their textiles, 1660 - 1760 (Melanie Marsh, 2018-).
  • Family history and historical practice (Helen Corlett, 2021-).

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British history, or local and community histories post 1750.



Further information

External posts

I am chair of Manchester Histories, a charity based at the University of Manchester which works with people and groups in the Greater Manchester area on history and heritage projects.  


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • John Rylands Research Institute and Library
  • Creative Manchester


Dive into the research topics where Hannah Barker is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • Historic Schools

    Hannah Barker (Secondee)

    1 Jun 2016

    Activity: External visiting positions or secondmentsVisiting an external non-academic organisationResearch

  • The National Trust

    Hannah Barker (Secondee)

    1 Oct 2015 → …

    Activity: External visiting positions or secondmentsVisiting an external non-academic organisationResearch