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The Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)

The Centre for Historical Studies is a lively hub for the discussion of the past and for the dissemination of historical knowledge. We are based in the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology at the University of Northampton where many of us are academic historians but we also work with colleagues in other subject areas, such as Journalism and English, as well as external partners outside of the Higher Education sector.

About The Centre for Historical Studies

We are particularly focused on developing collaborative partnerships across the UK and beyond.  Our partnerships include institutions such as English Heritage, Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage and local sports clubs such as Northampton Saints RFC and Northamptonshire Country Cricket Club. The centre also includes the Searchlight Archive, a collection of material related to the history of the extreme right and antifascism of international importance.

Our aims are to develop an environment conducive to high quality and impactful research and to promote the value of history as a vital subject of enquiry best suited to answering the key questions and challenges of our times. Tim Reinke Williams is a member of History UK’s steering committee, helping to develop its advocacy around the decolonising agenda; and Matthew McCormack is a member of the Council of the Northamptonshire Records Society.

The choice of title ‘Historical Studies’ is also deliberate and is intended to be inclusive, signalling that anyone who researches the past or historical approaches to current issues can become involved in the activities of the Centre. We welcome anybody that is interested in sharing our values of an analysis of the past, if interested please contact a member of the leadership team.

Read the latest CHS blogs

Key Themes

Research within the group is clustered around four broad areas, which have captured the wide range of research activities and interests of the core researchers. These have scope for expansion and development in the coming years as well:

  • Social and cultural history: this includes specialisms in the histories of crime, gender, medicine and health, sport, citizenship, elite society, economics, work and migration, and emotions. This theme also encompasses the history of education research led by Toby Purser.
  • Ideology, intelligence and security: this includes work on military intelligence and the First World War.
  • Radical and extremist ideology: this includes fascism, antifascism, wider forms of political radicalism, the history of emotions and political culture.
  • Archives: As well as hosting our own collections such as the Searchlight Archive, our partners at Northamptonshire Archives and Heritage, Northampton Saints RFC and Northamptonshire Country Cricket Club who share similar interests in the preservation of the past.

Current and future events at CHS

  • The Centre for Historical Studies Leadership

    Special Interest Groups Leaders

    Special Interest Groups (SIGS) are collections of staff members that work together on a single topic/discipline within the activities covered by the wider Centre for Historical Studies. These SIGs engage with their communities through a broad range of activities building platforms of engagement, hosting events and writing publications.

    Dr Rachel Moss – Gender Group

    This group is dedicated to the study of gender in the past and present. The group meets four times each year for seminar discussions of contemporary issues around gender and historical research on the topic of gender. Future plans include conferences and, potentially, publications on the issue. Members include, Associate Professor Mark Rothery, Dr Tim Reinke-Williams, Professor Matthew McCormack.

    Professor Paul JacksonSearchlight Archive Research Group

    This SIG is dedicated to the study of fascism and antifascism, in Britain and internationally. Members include Dr Daniel Jones and research students working in this area. The group meets regularly to discuss the present and future of the archive and related political and historical issues around the extreme right in Britain.

    View the centre’s researchers on PURE.

    Meet the Centre’s visiting fellows

  • Find out more about past events and conferences at the Centre for Historical Studies.

  • For a more detailed and expansive list of publications please see the Centre for Historical Studies Pure page.

  • The centre promotes and enhances research and teaching by networking and encouraging links between academics and community organisations, the heritage sector, archives and museums, thereby creating an inclusive and welcoming space.

    The centre will promote new knowledge and become a hub within Northamptonshire to connect all those with an interest in history.

    The centre will draw in expertise from across Northamptonshire and support campaigning work to preserve heritage sites across the county.

    The centre will be a conduit for new ideas and use its status to promote the work of its partners.

    The centre’s themes include:

    • Forging and maintaining external connections
    • Building internal links with other centres and academics
    • Developing new researchers
  • The Centre for Historical Studies is proud to work with a wide range of partners within the Northamptonshire county and beyond in order to further its collaborative work.


    • Shoe Collection: One of the largest collections of shoes and shoe heritage in the world, with over 60,000 objects. It is an Arts Council England Designated collection meaning it is recognised as being of national and international significance.
    • Social History Collection: A unique collection reflecting the history and development of Northampton and the surrounding county, with objects from the 1600s to the present day.
    • Numismatics Collection: An extensive and comprehensive collection of coins, tokens, checks, and commemorative medals representing Northampton, Northamptonshire, and the wider world.
    • Archaeology Collection: A collection of artifacts from excavations and material found by individuals dating from 1840 to the present day.
    • Costume Collection: A collection of costume and accessories associated with male, female, and children’s dress covering both day and night wear.
    • Military Collection: Two collections, the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, covering the period 1741 until 1971.
    • Fine Art Collection: A collection of artworks from the 15th century to the present day, with a focus on British art.
    • Decorative Art Collection: A collection of hand crafted and manufactured decorative objects that are also functional, including ceramics, glass, furniture, and metalwork.
    • Geology Collection: A collection of approximately 41,915 specimens, including rocks, fossils, and minerals.