Imperial College London


Central FacultyCentre for Languages, Culture and Communication

Lecturer in History







Sherfield BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I’m a historian who loves combining broad teaching, about crucial and long-term global developments, with specialist research into mysterious and dimly understood topics.

Here at Imperial, I put that into practice by convening two very different history modules. The first, ‘Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World,’ concerns the dramatic history of conspiracies, riots, coups, civil wars, emancipation and terror, between the late 1700s and the present day. It’s available to second and third year Imperial undergraduates, and is run through the Imperial Horizons programme.

My second module is a 20-week evening class entitled ‘Spellbound: A History of Magic from Ancient Times to the Present Day’. Beginning in Autumn 2019, this evocative and interactive course will be available to all, whether Imperial students or not, for a modest fee.

I also research and write about the modern history of witchcraft and magic. It involves scouring various historical sources, looking for evidence about all sorts of weird and wonderful things: spells and curses, ritual markings and magical amulets, fortune tellers and faith healers, and of course wizards and witches.

I’ve published various articles about this exciting topic (see below), and have a new book with Yale University Press entitled Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times.

Refereed publications:

'Irish cursing and the art of magic: 1750-2018'. Past and Present, 247 (2020), pp. 113-149.

‘Maleficent witchcraft in Britain since 1900’. History Workshop Journal, 80 (2015), pp. 99-122.

‘Magic and the British middle classes: 1750-1900’. Journal of British Studies, 54 (2015), pp. 632-653.

‘“They seem to have all died out”: witches and witchcraft in Lark Rise to Candleford and the English countryside, c. 1830-1930’. Historical Research, 87 (2014), pp. 134-153.

‘Belief in witchcraft in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, c. 1860-1900: the evidence of the newspaper archive’. Midland History, 34 (2009), pp. 98-116.

Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times (Yale University Press, 2019)

Other media:

Feature about some of the problems associated with witchcraft today, in Big Issue North, September 2019: 'The trouble with witchcraft today'.

Interview with Sabat Magazine, August 2019: 'The Darker Side of Modern Magick'.

Podcast about witchcraft in Britain in 1862, with Peter Moore for History Today magazine: travels through time - witchcraft.

Discussion on witches and witchcraft with Prof. Suzannah Lipscomb and Dr. Fern Riddell, for BBC Radio 3, September 2019: 'Proms Plus: Witches and Witchcraft'.