Staff Profile: Professor Keith Gildart

Name Professor Keith Gildart, BA (Manchester), DPhil (York), FRHistS
Professor of Labour and Social  History
Research Department
Centre for Historical Research - Class Community and Identity Group
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences
School School of Social, Historical and Political Studies
Tel. 01902 323496
Mary Seacole Building, Nursery  Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1AD

Areas of expertise

Nineteenth/twentieth century British history; labour history; working-class history; youth culture; popular music; the British coal industry


Keith Gildart is a Professor of Labour and Social History. After working as an underground coal miner for seven years he studied at the universities of Manchester and York.

His research interests are focused on nineteenth/twentieth century British history, labour movements, working class politics, youth culture and popular music. Keith has published widely on British labour history, most notably a monograph on the North Wales Miners and numerous articles and edited collections on coal mining history.

He is an editor of the multi-volume 'Dictionary of Labour Biography', for which he has contributed entries on British Labour Members of Parliament and important trade union figures. His most recent book is 'Images of England through Popular Music: Class, Youth and Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1955-1976' (Palgrave, 2013). He is currently working on a monograph titled 'Keeping the Faith: A History of Northern Soul' (Manchester University Press) and a project on the industrial and political culture of mining communities in post-war Britain.

He has appeared on television documentaries for the BBC, commentated on news items on radio, and for the local and national press.

Teaching approach and responsibilities

His teaching responsibilities include:

  • Level 4 The Making of Modern Britain
  • Level 4 The Pursuit of History
  • Level 5 The Social History of Victorian Britain
  • Level 5 The British Working Classes
  • Level 6 Youth Culture and Popular Music in Twentieth Century Britain
  • Level 7 MA Popular Culture

Academic qualifications

  • DPhil, University of York (1998)
  • BA (Hons) First Class, Politics and Modern History, University of Manchester (1995)
  • Diploma, Social and Community Studies, Northern College, Barnsley (1992)

Research interests

Professor Gildart is broadly interested in the history of the British working class from the period of the industrial revolution to the late twentieth century. His research has examined the history of the trade union movement, labour politics and working-class culture. He would be willing to supervise MPhil and PhD students planning to work in these areas.  More specifically, he has particular expertise in the history of the British coal industry, labour biography/autobiography, and the cultural politics of popular music. Outside of these areas, he also has an interest in the history of British film/television, spiritualism and the supernatural, and the impact of de-industrialisation on working-class communities.

PhD/MPhil supervision

Greig Campbell, 'The Battle for Bilston Steel: Work, Politics and Community, 1970-1980' (in progress)

Thomas Anney, 'Deaths, Accidents and State Intervention in the Warwickshire Coal Industry c1830-1914' (conferred 2013)

Rosalind Watkiss, 'Old Habits Persist: Continuity and Change in Black Country Communities, 1945-c1970' (conferred 2011)

Ian Thomas, 'Confronting the Challenge of Socialism: The British Empire Union and the National Citizen’s Union, 1917-27' (conferred 2010)

Corporate and community engagement

Professor Gildart has developed a partnership with the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU). In 2016 the GFTU agreed to fund a PhD Studentship in Labour History. He makes frequent contributions to their conferences, events and courses. He also has links with the national mining museums of England, Scotland and Wales.

Keith is currently PI on a £655,737 AHRC funded research project titled 'On Behalf of the People: Work, Community, and Class in the British Coal Industry 1947-1994 in collaboration with the national mining museums of England, Scotland and Wales, the University of Stirling, and the GFTU.

Professional body membership and roles

  • Royal Historical Society (Fellow)
  • History and Policy (Member of Trade Union Group)
  • The Subcultures Network (Member of Steering Group)
  • Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, Advisory Board Member
  • Socialist History (Executive Board Member)
  • Llafur: Journal of Welsh Peoples’ History (Member)
  • Society for the Study of Labour History (member)
  • Flintshire Historical Society (Member)
  • Denbighshire Historical Society (Member)

External academic roles

Professor Gildart is currently an external examiner for the Department of History at the University of Sussex.

Publications (since 2008)


  • Dictionary of Labour Biography Vol. XIV. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 (Co-Editor with David Howell)
  • Youth Acts: Riots, Rucks and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 (Edited with the Subcultures Network)
  • Fight Back: Punk, Politics and Resistance. Manchester University Press, 2014 (Edited with the Subcultures Network)
  • Youth Culture, Popular Music and the End of ‘Consensus’. Routledge, 2014 (Edited with the Subcultures Network)
  • Subcultures, Popular Music and Social Change. Cambridge Scholars, 2014 (Edited with the Subcultures Network)
  • Images of England through Popular Music: Class, Youth and Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1955-1976. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
  • The Coal Industry in Victorian Britain Vol. 6: Industrial Relations and Trade Unionism (editor). Pickering and Chatto, 2012
  • Dictionary of Labour Biography Volume XIII. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 (Co-Editor with David Howell)
  • Industrial Politics and the 1926 Mining Lockout. University of Wales Press, 2009 (Co-Edited with John McIlroy and Alan Campbell) New Edition/Paperback

Articles and book chapters

  • 'Class, Youth and Dirty Jobs: the working-class in Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia', in Pam Thurschwell (ed), Quadrophenia and Mod(ern) Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 85-115
  • Buying Brains and Experts: British Coal Owners, Scientific Knowledge and Miners’ Health, 1918-1946’ (with Andrew Perchard), Labor History 56, 4 (2015) 459-480 .
  • ‘The Antithesis of Humankind: Exploring Responses to the Sex Pistols Anarchy Tour 1976’, Cultural and Social History, 10, 1 (2013) 129-149
  • ‘From Dead End Streets to Shangi Las: Negotiating Social Class and Post-war Politics with Ray Davies and the Kinks’, Contemporary British History, 26, 3 (2012) 273-298
  • ‘Mining Memories: Reading Coalfield Autobiographies’, Labour History, Vol. 50 No. 2 (May 2009) 139-161
  • ‘Coal Strikes on the Home Front: Miners’ Militancy in the Second World War’, Twentieth Century British History, Vol. 20. No. 2 (2009) 121-151


  • Eleanor Bell and Linda Gunn (eds), ‘The Scottish Sixties: Reading, Rebellion, Revolution?’, Northern Scotland 7, 1 (2016) 121-124
  • James Owen, ‘Labour and the Caucus: Working-Class Radicalism and organised Liberalism in England, 1868-1888’, Journal of British Studies 55, 1 (2016) 227-229
  • Marek Korczynski, ‘Songs of the Factory: Pop Music, Culture and Resistance’, Cultural Sociology 10 (2016) 293-294
  • Donald L. Deardoff II, ‘Bruce Springsteen: American Poet and Prophet’, Popular Music 10 (2016) 356-358
  • Selina Todd, ‘The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010’, Labour History Review 80, 3 (2015) 310-312
  • Jim Phillips, ‘Collieries, Communities and the Miners’ Strike in Scotland’, Twentieth Century British History 25, 1 (2014) 212-214
  • Carol Quirke, ‘Eyes on Labor: News Photography and America’s Working Class’, Labour History Review 79, 1 (2014) 132-134
  • Sue Bruley, ‘The Women and Men of 1926’, Journal of British Studies 50, 3 (2011) 506-508
  • Hester Barron’, ‘The 1926 Miners’ Lockout’, American Historical Review (February, 2011) 225-226
  • Francis Devine, Fintan Lane and Niamh Puirseil, ‘Essays in Irish Labour History’, Irish Political Studies 25, 1 (2010) 140-141
  • Arthur McIvor and Ronald Johnston, ‘Miners’ Lung. A History of Dust Disease in British Coal Mining’, Labour History Review 74, 2 (August 2009) 213-214
  • Alan Campbell, Nina Fishman, John McIlroy (eds.), ‘The Post-War Compromise: British Trade Unions and Industrial Politics 1945-64; ‘The High Tide of British Trade Unionism, 1964-79’, Twentieth Century British History 19, 4 (2008) 546-549

Conferences and Paper Presentations (since 2008)

  • 2016 International Conference on Welsh Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • 2015 Working Class Studies Conference, Georgetown University, Washington DC
  • 2014 Sound Affects, University of East Anglia
  • 2013 British Scholar Conference, University of Texas, Austin
  • 2012 Working Class Studies Conference, State University of New York
  • 2011 Working Class Studies Conference, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • 2010 British Scholar Conference, University of Texas, Austin
  • 2010 Seminar Paper, Department of History, University of Reading
  • 2009 ‘Rhythms of Revolt’ Seminar Series, University of Manchester
  • 2008 Seventh Social Science History Conference, Lisbon, Portugal