Media and Public History

Nicola regards Public History as primarily a means to share or create historical knowledge by dissolving boundaries between academics and the wider public, and with professionals in other fields or institutions such as archives, museums, heritage sites, businesses and the media. She has experience in a wide variety of different fields (see below) and is currently involved in setting up a research project that includes collaboration between academic historians and family historians with The National Archives at Kew. Nicola also teaches a module on ‘Presenting Public History: Policy, Heritage, Museums and the Media’ as part of Kingston University’s History MA course, and supervises a PhD student on the topic.

Centre for the Historical Record

Nicola is a co-founder and member of Kingston University’s Centre for the Historical Record which was launched in 2011 to promote research and collaboration between historians, archivists, museum curators, heritage providers and members of the public with an interest in history, including local and family historians. The Centre has links with organisations and professional bodies in the field of public history and runs seminars and public events. It also specialises in digitising historical records with help from local volunteers and is home to a number of major research projects such as the Historic Hospitals Admission Records Project which focuses on the records of children’s hospitals in the nineteenth century.

The One Show

This was a short film about the seventeenth-century night soil men who used to clean out cesspits and carry the sewage away in carts. It was filmed on location at The Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex with presenter Ruth Goodman (Victorian Farm).

BBC Radio 4 – Kith & Kin – Mad About the Boy

This programme was one of four episodes in which historian Amanda Vickery (At Home with the Georgians) traced the history of family relationships through four centuries. In ‘Mad About the Boy’ Amanda and Nicola focused on the Profligate Son’s troubled relationships with his wealthy father, William Collins Jackson, and his two uncles, Sir George Shee and John Evelyn. The programme was recorded at locations in London including the Jackson’s family home at 30 Gloucester Place, which is now the headquarters of the Football Association.

Media and Public History Overview

Year Description

BBC1 ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’: a filmed discussion of an early C20th woman in business with a Coronation Street actor.


Contributed to and supervised staff and students to create a walking trail around local heritage sites.


Article for History Today, ‘Family History: Calling Up Your Ancestors’, 62, 6 (2012), p. 7.


BBC 1, ‘The One Show’: a short film on night-soil men with Ruth Goodman (video clip above).


Article for Family Tree magazine, ‘The Future of our History’, (September, 2011), pp. 54-56.


Public interview with Baroness Shirley Williams on stage at Richmond Museum to celebrate the launch of their Art, Theatre and Women’s Suffrage exhibition, and an interview with local Radio on why so few women become MPs now and in the past.


Broadcast interviews for BBC Wales on: the historical perspective to marrying for love or money; to debate David Starkey’s comments on the ‘feminisation of history’; and on gender and the historical context of divorce and marital separation agreements.


Historical Consultant to Addidi Wealth Ltd., for a web based competition and news promotion linking modern female city investors to historical women in business, 1650-1950. The Independent on Sunday (31/5/09) ran a two page colour article about these women and their modern champions in its Business Section. A public talk at Trinity House, London to present the competition awards and launch Addidi’s Business Angels scheme. The campaign resulted in an increase of businesswomen investing in the company.


Historical advisor to The Royal Mail for their ‘Women of Distinction’ stamps first day cover, plus interviews with press, including the BBC News website, about individuals chosen for the stamp launch. Kingston University article.


Guest Presenter on BBC Radio Four Series on ‘Kith and Kin’ ‘Mad about the Boy’, for an episode about family relatives based on research for The Profligate Son.


Invited Guest on BBC Radio Four Woman’s Hour balloon debate about the most important factor in C20th women’s history.


Research Consultant to the National Trust, for C18th history of the Third Earl of Egremont at Petworth House, later published by the Trust as a Key Stage 3 teachers’ pack, and lectures to teachers and the public.