Currently studying for a PhD in Poor Law History, Margaret developed her interest in the area when doing a taught MSc at the University of Oxford. She specializes in the Old Poor Law (OPL), which ran from 1601 to 1834. One of the fascinating things about this study is that the administration of the OPL has left thousands and thousands of documents in archives up and down the country and it is one of the only ways that we can get a glimpse into the lives of the poorest people in those centuries.
“I applied to do my PhD at Reading for several reasons. Firstly, there was a regional bursary which I could apply for. Second, I needed to demonstrate a link with the local area, and study of something local. I have lived in Reading for 46 years, and in my time have been a Borough Councillor, Chair of Reading Labour Party, and a governor of several schools. In addition a big chunk of my thesis focuses on the operation of the OPL in Reading. I was also attracted to the local area resource provided by such facilities as the Museum of English Rural Life.”