Dr Sally Horrocks

Associate Professor in Contemporary British History

Sally HorrocksContact details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5070
  • Email: smh4@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Attenborough 507

Personal details

I studied History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge before spending two years teaching Chemistry at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland. After returning to the UK I completed a PhD in the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHSTM) at the University of Manchester, where my research focused on scientists and food manufacturing in Britain before World War II and on industrial research and development in general. After a year in the Department of History at Lancaster University, I joined the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester. I have been book reviews editor of Economic History Review and have held a number of offices within the British Society for the History of Science of which I was President between 2010 and 2012. I am senior academic advisor to the Oral History of British Science, a National Life Stories project in partnership with the British Library and was also advisor to An Oral History of the Electricity Supply in the UK. Along with Colin Hyde I worked with BBC local radio stations in the East Midlands on their coverage of the centenary of the First World War and was part of the team behind the award winning Voices of Science website. In 2019 I was awarded a University of Leicester Distinguished Teaching Fellowship.


British Society for the History of Science (BSHS)

Oral History of British Science (OHBS)

Voices of Science


My research interests lie in the social, economic and cultural history of postwar British science and technology and gender history, particularly in relation to science and technology. I am particularly interested in the lives and careers of scientists. I remain interested in industrial R&D and corporate engagement with science and technology more broadly.

Current research projects

My primary current project is a study of the lives and careers of women scientists and engineers in Britain from World War II to the Sex Discrimination Act. This research approaches the experiences of women in these professions from the perspective of the history of women’s work and seeks to contextualise their experiences in the wider social, economic and cultural context of World War II and the Cold War as well as in relation to the development of the scientific enterprise in Britain during this period. My research also considers women who worked as technicians and of the important roles played by the wives of scientists in sustaining the scientific community. Along with colleagues from the An Oral History of British Science team I have been exploring how life story interviews with scientists can be used to engage with different topics in the history of science, including emotion at work and scientists’ childhoods.


I am keen to take on new students in 2020. Alongside topics in the history of recent science and technology, I am also interested in supervising projects that use oral history as a methodology, focus on topics for which the city of Leicester is a case study or explore women’s professional work. My current students are researching a variety of topics in contemporary British history including the development of Asian radio programming on BBC local radio, women's agency in inter-ethnic relationships and public communication and nuclear power.

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