Photo of Professor Andrew Thorpe

Professor Andrew Thorpe

Research supervision

Twentieth-century British history remains a vibrant field of study. I have supervised research postgraduates in a range of areas. Exeter is, of course, a prime location from which to study the South-West of England, and the sources both at the University, in the city and a little further afield are very rich for a number of topics. However, as can be seen from my own list of publications and the topics that I have researched at doctoral level, Exeter is also a good location from which to pursue national-level topics. Its good transport links, in particular, mean that it is not difficult to get to archives and libraries in London, the midlands, South Wales, or, indeed, archives further north. In particular, my extensive experience of using the holdings of local record offices all over Britain means that I am able to offer advice as to which topics are more or less viable according to the location of archives and the student's ability to travel.

I would be especially keen to supervise students in the following broad areas, although the list is by no means exclusive:

  • The history of the Labour party.
  • Conservative party history.
  • The history of the Liberal party.
  • Communist party history.
  • Studies of electoral politics, at either a regional or national level.
  • The careers of politicians.
  • The political history of the twentieth-century South-West.
  • Religion and politics in twentieth-century Britain.

Of course, each of these categories in itself contains dozens, if not hundreds, of possible PhD research topics: the categories are merely broad indications of the kinds of fields that are available. I would be happy to discuss with potential research students the possibilities of research in any area of twentieth-century British history: see for more information.

Research students

G Tregidga, ‘The Liberal party in Cornwall, 1918-1939’, MPhil, 1991

M D Kandiah, ‘Lord Woolton’s chairmanship of the Conservative party, 1946-1951’, PhD, 1993 (jointly with Dr B I Coleman)

N Riddell, ‘The second Labour government, 1929-31, and the wider Labour movement’, PhD (British Academy funded), 1995 (published as Labour in Crisis, MUP, 1999)

G Tregidga, ‘The Liberal party in the South-West of England, 1929-1959’, PhD (University Research Fund funded), 1996 (published as The Liberal Party in South-West Britain since 1918, University of Exeter Press, 2000)

D Griffiths, ‘Policing England and Wales between the two world wars’, PhD 2001

Ullin Jodah, ‘The British Labour Party and the Hungarian Social Democrats 1945-9’, University of the West of England PhD, 2002 (external supervisor)

Claire Waddingham, ‘British policy towards Kenya and Rhodesia in the 1950s and 1960s’, MPhil 2004

Susan Hess, ‘Evacuation in World War II Devon’, PhD, 2007

Michael Callaghan, ‘John Aloysius Costello: The forgotten Taoiseach’, PhD, 2009

Richard Wevill, ‘The Washington Embassy and Anglo-American relations, 1945-48’, PhD, 2010 (published as Britain and America after World War II: Bilateral Relations and the Beginnings of the Cold War, I. B. Tauris, 2012)

James Parker, ‘British trade unions and the Labour party in the 1930s’, PhD, 2011-date (AHRC funded)

Simon Peplow, ‘The British riots of 1981’,PhD, 2011-date (AHRC funded)

Philip Child, ‘Affluence and the tower block: Labour attitudes to social housing and urban poverty in affluent Britain, 1951-70’, MPhil/PhD, 2012-date (AHRC funded)

I have also acted as an external examiner for PhDs at a number of universities in the UK and abroad.