Dr Sally Horrocks

Associate Professor in Contemporary British History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5070



I joined the University of Leicester after a year at Lancaster University and a PhD in the Centre for the History of Science Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. Prior to that I taught Chemistry at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in the Kingdom of eSwatini. I have served as reviews editor of Economic History Review and and held a number of offices within the British Society for the History of Science of which I was President between 2010 and 2012. Since 2011 I have acted as senior academic advisor to several National Life Stories project in partnership with the British Library including An Oral History of British Science An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry and An Oral History of Farming Land Management and Conservation. 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. I currently act as institutional lead for the ESRC Midlands Graduate School DTP.


My research focusses the history of science and technology in 20th and 21st century Britain, placing this in its wider social, economic, political and cultural context.  My recent work concentrates on scientific careers and the use of oral history as a method for researching them.  I am particularly interested in women scientists and engineers, gender and scientific careers and on careers outside of the academic sector. Recently I have started to draw on this research to think about emotion work in science and its implications for knowledge production. Across these topics I am interested in how knowledge is made, how it moves and who gets the credit for producing it.  I am part the University History Project based in the Library. In the past I have published on industrial research and on scientists in the food industry.  This interest in food is now reflected in my work with National Life Stories on farming, conservation and land management 

2022- ongoing  PI for Leicester's Covid-19 Story, funded by the University of Leicester. This is an oral history collecting project that is capturing the unique experiences of the people of Leicester during the pandemic.

2018-2021 PI for Midlands Hub, Unlocking our Sound Heritage funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund

2013 PI for World War One at Home funded by the AHRC to work with BBC Local Radio Stations in Derby, Leicester, and Nottingham 


With Paul Merchant, Managing feeling in the academic workplace: gender, emotion and knowledge production in a Cambridge science department, in Agnes Arnold Foster and Alison Moulds eds., Feelings and Work in Modern History: Emotional Labour and Emotions about Labour (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Voices of Science website,

With Thomas Lean, Good Nuclear Neighbours: The British electricity industry and the communication of nuclear power to the public, 1950s - 1980s Journal of Science Communication 16:3 (2017)

With Thomas Lean, Doing it for Britain: science and service in oral history with government scientists in Charlotte Sleigh and Donald Leggett, eds., Scientific Governance in Britain, 1914-79 (Manchester University Press, 2016), 161-78

World War II, Postwar Reconstruction and British Women Chemists Ambix 58 (2011), pp. 150-70.


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. I retain an interest in food and farming. My current and recent students research 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 the privatisation of government science and public communication by the nuclear industry.


I convene the core 2nd year module Perceiving the Past and the final year module What Difference did the War Make: British Society and the Great War 1900-1939. I also teach on the first year module Great Britain: the State we are In the MA module Historical Research Historical Writing and supervise BA and MA dissertations on a range of topics in Contemporary British History.

Press and media

History of British Science and Technology in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Women in Science and Engineering
Leicester in the 20th and 21st Centuries
Food and Farming in Britain since 1900
The Home Front in World War One and World War Two
History of the University of Leicester


Member of the British Academy Records of Social and Economic History Editorial Board, 2019-
British Science Association History of Science Section President,  2019
Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick: Member of Advisory Board (2014- 2018)
Women In Science Research Network: Member of Advisory Board (2013-15)
British Society for the History of Science 1995-2013: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Chair of the Programmes Committee, Singer Prize judge, Membership Secretary.
Economic History Society: Book Reviews Editor for Economic History Review (2000-04), member of council (2004-07)
2013 International Congress for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester: Member of organising committee 


Royal Historical Society Public History Prize for Web and Digital, 2015 and British Society for the History of Science Ayrton Prize, 2015 for Voices of Science, with Oral History of British Science Team
T.S. Ashton Prize of the Economic History Society for 1991-92, joint winner.
University of Leicester Distinguished Teaching Fellow, 2019
University of Leicester Student Union Superstar Award for Best Supervisor, 2019
University of Leicester Impact Award Winner, Public Engagement, 2017

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