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Dr Alison Kay

Formerly at Lancaster University

Research Interests

About me: I am currently on maternity and have been appointed an Honorary Research Fellow. I was Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century British History at Lancaster during the academic year 2007-2008, teaching HIST246 Victorian Values: Religion, Sex, Crime and Deviance. Preceding this appointment, I was Senior Researcher on the ESRC Women Investors Project, based at KCL; Research Fellow in the History of Management Education at the University of Westminster; and an Associate Lecturer with the Open University. I hold a PGCE and Qualified Teacher Status. Prior to my career in research and teaching, I was a management analyst and business journalist in London.

About my research: My research examines the themes of enterprise and society in Victorian Britain, focussing on the varied and sometimes gendered nature of enterpreneurship and the negotiated spaces of private/commercial and commerical/public activity. My monograph on The Foundations of Female Entrepreneurship: Enterprise, home and household, London c.1800-1870 (Routledge, 2009) is in-press and I am currently working on a global study of scholarship on historical entrepreneurship. As part of a broader interest in the relationship between money, the marketplace, and responsibility, I have also explored the Victorian 'moral' enterprise, ranging from the provision of respectable lodging houses to the activities of the Crystal Palace Company (responsible for re-erecting the Crystal Palace in Sydenham after the Great Exhibition of 1851). In addition, a newer project is an examination of enterprise, health and childhood in Britain since 1850, with special reference to the role of innovation, materials and the marketplace.

Additional Information

Recent and Forthcoming Publications


  • The Foundations of Female Entrepreneurship: Enterprise, home and household, London c.1800-1870, Taylor & Francis: Routledge, in press, 2009.

In Print

  • 'Villas, values and the Crystal Palace Company, 1852-1911', The London Journal, 33:1, March 2008, pp.21-39.
  • 'Revealing her assets: Liberating the Victorian businesswoman from the sources', Business Archives: Sources and History, 92, 2006, pp.1-16.
  • 'A measure of worth: probate valuations, personal wealth and indebtedness in England, 1810-40,' Historical Research, 79, 2006, pp.383-403 --with A. Owens, D.R. Green, & C. Bailey.
  • 'A respectable business. Women, retailing and independence in nineteenth century London', in R. Beachy, B. Craig & A. Owens (eds.) Women, Business and Finance in Nineteenth-Century Europe: Rethinking Separate Spheres, Berg, 2006, pp.152-166.
  • 'Small business, self-employment and women's work-life choices in nineteenth century London', in J. Brown, D. Mitch & M. Van Leeuwen (eds) Origins of the Modern Career, Ashgate, 2004, pp.191-206.
  • 'A little enterprise of her own. Lodging house keeping and the accommodation business in mid-nineteenth century London', The London Journal, 28:2, 2003, pp.41-53.
  • Various reviews in The Victorian, Business History, The London Journal, eh.net

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