School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
Dr Mike Esbester
Lecturer in History
Milldam, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, HANTS., PO1 3AS
Mike joined Portsmouth in 2011, having previously been an AHRC Early Career Fellow at Oxford Brookes University and having worked at the University of Reading. His research focuses on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain, particularly on the cultural history of safety, risk and accident prevention, and on the history of mobility. Mike is committed to taking his research to as wide an audience as possible, whether academic, public or students; he draws on this research in his teaching, which covers European history from approximately 1750.
Mike’s research at Portsmouth looks at the practices and discourses of safety, revealing how it is culturally and socially constructed. It makes use of a range of unorthodox sources – including posters, booklets, cigarette cards, board games, medals and films – to interrogate how the producers of educational campaigns have tried to persuade people to change their behaviour and act safely. It explores what messages were conveyed through safety education, focusing on three key areas: occupational safety, public safety and home safety.
Mike is currently preparing a monograph on the safety of railway workers in twentieth-century Britain, and is completing a number of articles from his AHRC-funded project ‘Living in Safety: the Culture of “Safety” and Accident Prevention in Everyday Life in Britain, c.1900-2000.’
Mike is also interested in the history of transport and mobility, with particular reference to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. Contributing to this, Mike is on the Executive Committee of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M).
‘Taxing design? Design and readers in British tax forms before 1914’, Design Issues, Vol. 27, No. 3 (2011, forthcoming).
‘Safety first! Preventing Accidents in Twentieth-Century Britain’, BBC History Magazine (August 2011).
‘Designing Time: The Design and Use of Nineteenth-Century Transport Timetables’, Journal of Design History, Vol. 22, No. 2 (2009), 91-113.
‘Nineteenth-Century Timetables and the History of Reading’, Book History, Vol. 12 (2009), 156-85.
‘Mapping the Way? Maps, Gender, Emotion’, in G. Letherby & G. Reynolds (eds.), Gendered Journeys, Mobile Emotions (Ashgate, 2009), 33-44.
‘Organizing Work: Company Magazines and the Discipline of Safety’, Management and Organizational History, Vol. 3, No. 3-4 (August/ November 2008), 217-37.
‘Administration, Technology & Workplace Safety in the early Twentieth Century’, Jahrbuch für europäische Verwaltungsgeschichte (Yearbook of European Administrative History), Vol. 20 (2008), 95-117.
‘“No Good Reason for the Government to Interfere”: Business, the State and Railway Employee Safety in Britain, c.1900-39’, Business and Economic History Online, Vol. 4 (2006), http://www.thebhc.org/publications/BEHonline/beh.html.