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British Telegraphic Work and Spaces, 1846-1950 PhD Studentship - History

University of Exeter - College of Humanities

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,285
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 2nd April 2020
Closes: 1st June 2020
Reference: 3894

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on British telegraphic work and spaces, 1846-1950 at the University of Exeter in partnership with BT Archives (London). The studentship is awarded by the Science Museums and Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on British telegraphic work and spaces, 1846-1950 at the University of Exeter in partnership with BT Archives (London). The studentship is awarded by the Science Museums and Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project will commence in September 2020 and will be supervised by Prof Richard Noakes and Dr. Sam Kinsley at Exeter and Ms. Anne Archer and Mr. James Elder at BT Archives, with further support from the Science Museum.

This project is a revisionist study of the largely forgotten operators of Britain's inland telegraph network from the foundation of the first private telegraph companies in 1846, through nationalisation of the service in 1870, to 1950 when the service was in sharp decline owing to competition from telephony. It plugs a considerable gap in the historiography of British telecommunications – the need for a systematic and detailed understanding of telegraphic work and the spaces within which it was pursued. The project will yield new insights into such key developments as the entry of women into telegraphy and the foundation of telegraphic workers' unions. The project involves the study of a wealth of largely unexplored primary source material, the bulk of which is held in BT Archives. The systematic study of these materials will enable the CDA student to make a highly original contribution to historical scholarship and to help BT Archives in several important ways, including significantly enhancing the detail in its catalogue, producing website content and curating physical exhibitions. The CDA's research will also help enhance the Science Museum's catalogue of telegraphic instruments.

A preliminary survey of BT Archives catalogue reveals an immense amount of material that can support this research. It holds complete runs of periodicals dedicated to telegraphy and a wealth of unpublished documents relating to such issues as station organisation, employee recruitment, training, health and working conditions, and the experiences of female and male telegraphists. It is possible that the project will also uncover materials revealing the experiences of BAME and other under-represented telegraphists. The richness of the archival material that the student will be exploring means that there is much flexibility within the project for them to build on their own intellectual strengths and follow their own interests.

Further information about the funding scheme and the institutions involved in this project can be found at the following links:

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme: www.ahrc-cdp.org

BT Archives: www.btplc.com/thegroup/btshistory/btgrouparchives

Postgraduate Research at the University of Exeter: www.exeter.ac.uk/pg-research

Science Museum Group Collaborative Doctoral: www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/our-work/research-public-history/collaborative-doctoral-awards.

UKRI Research Training: www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Professor Richard Noakes

Funding:

UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate of £15,285 per year. Award holders will also receive a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership maintenance of £600 per year and a partial London weighting of £1000 per year. The partner institution, BT Archvies, will also provide the award holder with up to £1000 per year to support travel and other research expenses.

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