Nick Crowson


  • Professor of Contemporary British History, History

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Non-Governmental Organisations and Social Activism
British European policy since 1945
Inter-war British foreign policy
Modern British party politics


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I joined the Department of Modern History in September 1997. Previously I had been Director of Research at the Institute of Contemporary British History, University of London (1996-7) and a Fellow in the Department of Politics, The Queen’s University of Belfast (1994-1996).

My Doctoral Research on the Conservative Party and appeasement 1937-40 was undertaken at the University of Southampton where I was a recipient of an Archival Studentship. An extended version of the PhD was published as Facing Fascism: The Conservative Party and the European Dictators 1935-40 (London: Routledge, 1997). My undergraduate studies were also undertaken at the University of Southampton.

Research interests

Current research

I am researching a history of homeless in modern Britain from the 1880s to modern day. This includes recreating the life stories of vagrants in late Victorian times; exploring the hidden history of the mass squatting of military camps in 1946; examining the role of the Reception Centres after 1946; and considering the impact of organisations, such as Shelter and Crisis, in campaigning for the homeless.

Past research

NGOs in Britain 1945-1997

This project was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and and was undertaken with my colleague Matthew Hilton. NGOs have raised new political agendas, transformed and revived associational life, re-politicised generations seemingly disillusioned with the politics of the ballot box and inspired numerous pieces of legislation and regulatory initiatives. By mapping the sector, examining its role and interpreting its power, this research will provide a better assessment of the role of NGOs in contemporary Britain as well as contributing to current policy and interdisciplinary academic debates regarding civil society, voluntarism and associational life, state-NGO relations and the role of the ‘third sector’ more generally. Two books have arisen from the project A Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector since 1945 (Palgrave, 2012) and The Politics of Expertise (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2013). 

With an AHRC Resource Enhancement Grant  I, along with Matthew Hilton, created the Database on the Archives of UK Non-Governmental Organisations since 1945 (DANGO) This is a research tool to enable researchers to identify the archives of NGOs.

Prior to this my research has been concerned with the Conservative Party and resulted in two books, an edited volume and numerous articles and chapters (see Select Publications below).

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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