Alistair Kefford

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Alistair KeffordContact details
Office: Attenborough Tower 702


I studied undergraduate history at the University of Manchester, researching (among other things) the Northern Soul scene in 1970s Manchester. From 2007 to 2010 I worked for a local government planning authority, which led to me returning to academia to undertake an MA in Urban Regeneration and Development. I couldn't keep away from History, and returned to Manchester's History Department to undertake a PhD in Economic and Social History in 2011. This research was funded by the ESRC, and looked at the planning and redevelopment of British cities between 1945 and 1979. After completing my PhD I was appointed Lecturer in Modern British History at Manchester. I joined the Centre for Urban History at Leicester in January 2018, as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow.


I am a historian of twentieth-century Britain, with a particular focus on British cities and British urbanism in the period. I am interested in how large-scale structural transformations—in the economy, politics, and governance—played out in the everyday spaces and experiences of urban life, and also how cities themselves have served as drivers of broader historical change. My research draws together insights and approaches from the various sub-fields of modern British history - political, cultural, social and economic histories – and the city provides a useful site where the distinctions between these categories of experience tend to break down. My research speaks strongly beyond the discipline of history; to those working in the adjacent fields of urban studies, geography, and political economy, and to those concerned with present-day urban and social policy and the future prospects of our cities.

I am currently working on a three year, British Academy funded, research project which investigates the dramatic rise of commercial property development in British cities from the 1950s to 2000. This project examines the crucial role which property development played in remaking Britain’s cities in the second half of the twentieth century, when the industry boomed and urban environments and economies were overhauled in the process. Cities today, and our lives within them, are fundamentally shaped by the business of property development. My research project explores how and why this came about, and what it might mean for the future of our cities.


Alistair Kefford, ‘Housing the Citizen-Consumer in Post-war Britain: The Parker Morris Report, Affluence and the Even Briefer Life of Social Democracy’, Twentieth Century British History 29:2 (2018).

Alistair Kefford, ‘Disruption, Destruction and the Creation of “the Inner Cities”: the Impact of Urban Renewal on Industry, 1945-75’, Urban History 44:3 (2017).

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