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Pierre Botcherby

PhD Research

Memory, Resistance, and Regeneration: A Merseyside Town in the Age of De-industrialisation, St. Helens 1968-2018

Supervisors: Professor Mathew Thomson & Dr. Joachim Haberlen

My PhD research concerns ordinary people's memories of the period commonly referred to as de-industrialisation. Combining oral history and documentary evidence, my project examines, via a case study of the former industrial town of St. Helens, Britain's industrial decline and its impact on those most directly affected by it, i.e., the workers and the residents of former industrial towns. In particular, my project explores the links between people's memories of the time period, attempts to resist de-industrialisation, and moves towards – and resistance of – (urban) regeneration.

A full research proposal for my thesis can be downloaded here  .

Personal & Academic Background

I grew up in St. Helens, near Liverpool, before sending myself to Coventry in 2011 to study a BA in French & History at the University of Warwick. Upon graduating in 2015, I went souther still to enrol on a two year Masters degree in Anglophone Studies at the University of Nice, where I juggled studying and seminar tutoring with a part-time retail job and a brief career as a rickshaw driver. Having plentifully stocked myself with Vitamin D from the Côte d'Azur sky, I returned to Warwick in 2017 to begin my PhD.

Alongside researching, I am a keen but not overly-talented squash player and I was the PhD Staff-Student Liaison representative on the History department's Research Committee for the 2017-18 academic year.

In September 2018, I became the Administrative Assistant for the Warwick Oral History Network. The OHN runs regular seminars, provides assistance to various community oral history projects (such as the Binley Colliery project being undertaken by the team at Dunsmore Living Landscape), and hosts an Oral History Interest Group for researchers at the university wishing to share knowledge/experiences of using oral history.

2017- DPhil History (University of Warwick), ongoing

2015-2017 – Bac+5 Etudes Anglophones (Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis), mention très bien

2011-2015 – BA (Hons) French & History (University of Warwick), 1st class (with merit for oral)

Previous Research

2017 – MA Dissertation (supervisor: Professor Didier Revest) – Les classes ouvrières et les inégalités sociales en Grande-Bretagne depuis la Seconde Guerre mondiale : origines, évolution, et le rôle de Margaret Thatcher [The working classes and social inequalities in Great Britain since World War Two: Origins, evolution, and the role of Margaret Thatcher]

2016 – MA Dissertation (supervisor: Professor Didier Revest) – The socio-economic impact of de-industrialisation on women in England from the 1980s to the present day, with specific focus on St. Helens, Merseyside

2015 – BA Dissertation (supervisors: Professor Chris Read & Dr. Charles Walton) – Utopian dreams, dictatorial reality: the analogous outcomes of the Abbé Sieyès' and Lenin's revolutionary projects


In addition to the below publications, I edit the Blog for the department's Queer History reading group.

April 2018 – Review of La prison des pauvres: l'expérience des workhouses en Angleterre


5-6 July 2019 - Oral History @ Work: Recording Change in Working Lives (Oral History Society Annual Conference, Swansea University) - 'A tale of two ranches? From John Wayne to JR Ewing: de-industrialisation and changes to work in St. Helens, Merseyside'

27 June 2019 - Urban Identities: Past and Present (Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick) - 'Building communities? Urban development in industrial and post-industrial St. Helens'

9 May 2019 - Retailing and Community: The Social Dimensions of Commerce in Historical Perspective (Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution, University of Wolverhampton) - 'Representing local interests in post-industrial town centre regeneration: a case study of St. Helens, Merseyside'

4 December 2018 - Queerness and Class: Readings from Britain and France (Queer History Reading Group, University of Warwick) - Reading Group Chair (with Somak Biswas and Andrew Burchell)

10 November 2018 - The Politics of Sedition in Long Nineteenth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural Discourse (Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick) - Panel Chair: 'Resistance from below: expressions of sedition from the working class'
Information about the conference can be found here

25-26 October 2018 – The Pursuit of Legitimacy Power and its Manifestations in Political History (Leiden University, Holland) – 'Seeking continuity in a period of change: resisting industrial decline and post-industrial regeneration'
Abstract available for download here  .

31 May-1 June 2018 – History Postgraduate Conference (University of Warwick) – 'Resisting de-industrialisation through memory: a case study of St. Helens, Merseyside'
Abstract available for download here  .

23 May 2018 – Questioning the Disappearance of Disciplinary Boundaries (Annual PG Symposium of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Warwick) – 'Oral history: a chorus of disciplines'
Abstract available for download here  .


2018-2019, University of Warwick

  • HI153, The Making of the Modern World

2016-2017, Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis

  • English Studies (2nd year undergraduate), 'From Schism to Revolution' [History module covering the Tudors and the Stewarts]
  • Sociology/Economics (2nd year undergraduate), 'English Language'
  • Human Resources Management (1st year MA), 'English Language'

2016-2017, Ecole du Journalisme, Nice

  • Journalism (General) (3rd year undergraduate), 'Debates and Interviews in English'

Outreach Work

13 November 2018 - Binley Colliery Oral History Project, Hagard Community Centre, Willenhall, Coventry

18 April 2018 – Entering Higher Education seminar, Rainford College

21 March 2018 – Guest speaker at Year 11 & 13 Rewards Evening, Rainford College

Working 9


PhD Candidate

Undergraduate Tutor

Warwick Oral History Network Administrative Assistant (contact: