Geoff Timmins

Geoff Timmins

Emeritus Professor of History

School of Humanities, Language and Global Studies

Livesey House, LH317

+44 (0) 1772 89 3043

Subject Areas: History

Full Profile

Geoff has worked in secondary education, initial teacher training and in-service teacher education, as well as teaching on BA and MA history courses and supervising post-graduate students. He has been particularly concerned with developing active and independent forms of learning; with devising learning approaches that enhance students’ key skills and hence their employability; and with promoting the use of ICT as a learning medium.

Geoff’s main academic interests are in local and regional history, especially in relation to industrialisation and the use of the built environment as a source of historical evidence. He is also involved in research related to history teaching and learning, He has published extensively from his research findings and has given numerous conference papers relating to them, both in Britain and in overseas countries, including the USA, Canada and Australia.


  • BA (Econ) MA, Dip Ed (Sheffield), PhD (Lancaster), NTF, FHA.



Four Centuries of Lancashire Cotton (Lancashire County Books, 1996)

Made in Lancashire: a History of Regional Industrialisation (Manchester University Press, 1998)

(with Steven King) Making Sense of the Industrial Revolution (Manchester University Press, 2001)

(with K. Vernon & C. Kinealy), Teaching and Learning History in Higher Education (Sage Publishers, 2005)

More publications


Geoff’s research is based in three main areas:

  • Regional industrial and transport history
  • History of 18th and19th century housing
  • Progression and differentiation in HE history teaching

He has published extensively in these areas, his major books being:

  1. The Last Shift: the Decline of Handloom Weaving in Nineteenth Century Lancashire (Manchester University Press, 1993)
  2. Made in Lancashire: a History of Regional Industrialisation (Manchester University Press, 1998)
  3. (with Steven King) Making Sense of the Industrial Revolution (Manchester University Press, 2001)
  4. (with K. Vernon & C. Kinealy), Teaching and Learning History in Higher Education (Sage Publishers, 2005)

Working with colleagues at UCLan and fellow historians at Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitan University, Geoff is contributing to a major research project funded by the National Teaching Fellowship scheme, dealing with numeracy in undergraduate teaching. Their contribution has been published in V. Tariq,, Every Student Counts: Promoting Numeracy and Enhancing Employability (UCLan, 2010) and in G. Timmins, R.Lloyd- Jones & D.Nicholls, ‘Numeracy Competency Amongst UK History Undergraduates’ in L. Lavender (ed), History Graduates with Impact (History Subject Centre, 2011), pp.27-35.

His recent learning and teaching research has centred on ways of enhancing the proficiency of undergraduate history students as they progress through their degree courses and, partly with employability in mind, the ways in which history students might apply basic numeracy techniques in their historical investigations. He has also prepared a book dealing with teaching local history in primary and secondary schools. His recent research in local and regional history has been concerned with aspects of road transport history, especially the methods and impact of gradient easing, and working-class accommodation standards in the 19th century, including the rather unwholesome theme of changes in domestic sanitation.

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities


In 2003, Geoff’s outstanding contribution as a history teacher was recognised when he became one of the first recipients of a National Award for History Teaching in Higher Education.

In 2004, his contribution as a teacher was more widely recognised by the higher education community when he was awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship.

External Activities

Geoff has acted as external examiner on fourteen BA and MA history programmes, as well as for seventeen PhD and M.Phil students at other universities. He has also been a review panel member at other universities on fourteen occasions.   

His other external activities have included periods as Schools History Project Co-ordinator for Lancashire; Associate Editor, New Dictionary of National Biography, Business Textiles Section; and Chair, Conference of Regional and Local Historians in Tertiary Education Committee.

He is currently a committee member of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire; Committee member of the Federation of Lancashire Local History Societies; committee member of the International Society for the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in History; and an education committee member of the British Association for Local History.

His media contributions include The Victorians: Earning a Living and How to Do History (BBC on-line Learning Journey series, 2001); The Workshop of the World (Granada Television series, 2003). and acting as adviser for the Arkwright Patent section of Melvyn’s Bragg’s television series Twelve Books that Changed the World (2006).


Selection of other publications

(a) Books

Preston: A Pictorial History (Phillimore, 1992), pp.118.

Blackburn: A Pictorial History (Phillimore, 1993), pp.119.

Four Centuries of Lancashire Cotton (Lancashire County Books, 1996), pp.92

Teaching Local History in Primary and Secondary Schools (British Association for Local History, 2016).

(b) Series papers

Handloom Weavers' Cottages in Central Lancashire (University of Lancaster, Centre for North West Regional Studies Occasional Paper, 1977), pp.74.

(with D.Hunt) A Guide to Lancashire Records: The Textile Industry, 1750-1850 (UCLan, 2000), pp.30.

Progression and differentiation in HE History teaching: the conceptual dimension (History, Classics and Archaeology Subject Centre, 2003), pp.5.

(c) Booklets

Metal Workers since 1784: A History of W.& G.Sissons (Calver, Derbyshire, 1984), pp.20. (Revised and extended edition with R.Lloyd-Jones, 2005.)

Investigating History through Roads, Canals and Railways (Hodder and Stoughton, 1986), pp.32.

(with Darwen WEA), Darwen During the Industrial Revolution (Darwen WEA, 1987), pp.54.

(d) Articles

'New Light on Old Windows', University of Lancaster Regional Bulletin (1976).

'Measuring Industrial Growth from Trade Directories', The Local Historian (1979).

'Handloom Weavers' Cottages in Central Lancashire: Some Problems of Recognition', Post-Medieval Archaeology (1979), pp.251-72.

'Towards a Systematic Procedure for Recording Threatened Housing', The Local Historian (1982), pp.6-20.

'Concentration and Integration in the Sheffield Crucible Steel Industry', Business History (1982), pp.61-78.

(with H.Glendinning) 'Population History with Juniors: Using Parish Registers', Teaching History (1983).

(with P.Knight) 'Using Data Bases in History Teaching', Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning (1986), pp.93-101.

'Dead Men Do Tell Tales', Northwest Journal of Historical Studies (1988), pp.99-103.

‘Housing Quality in Rural Textile Colonies, c.1800-c.1850: the Ashworth Settlements Revisited’, Industrial Archaeology Review (2000), pp.21-37.

‘Gradualism versus Discontinuity in the British Industrial Revolution: A Case Study of Lancashire’, Leidschrift Historisch Tijdschrift (University of Leiden, 2003), pp.15-31.

‘Road Gradient Easing during The Industrial Revolution: A Case Study of the Lancashire Textile District’, Industrial Archaeology Review (2003), pp.97-117.

‘Paving the Way: Developments in Road Building Techniques in Lancashire, England, c.1770-c.1870’, Journal of Transport History (March, 2005), pp.19-40.

‘Domestic Industry in Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries: Field Evidence and the Research Agenda’, Industrial Archaeology Review (2005), pp.67-75.

‘The Future of Learning and Teaching in Social History: the Research Approach and Employability’, Journal of Social History (2006), pp.829-42.

with S.Brawley and T.Mills Kelly, ‘SOTL and national difference: musings from historians from three countries’,  Arts & Humanities in Higher Education (January, 2009).

‘Back passages and excreta tubs: improvements in the conservancy system of sanitation in Victorian Lancashire’, Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 161 (2013), pp.47-63.

‘Housing Industrial Workers during the 19th Century: Back-to-back housing in textile Lancashire’, Industrial Archaeology Review, 35 (2013), pp. 111-27

(e) Chapters

'Early Building Societies in Lancashire' in S.Jackson (ed.) Industrial Colonies and Communities (The Conference of Regional and Local Historians in Tertiary Education,1988), pp.19-24.

'Teaching Local History: Education' in Pat and Steve Harrison, Time and Place, II (Simon and Schuster, 1992), pp.103-28.

'Teaching Local History: Houses and Domestic Life' in Pat and Steve Harrison, Time and Place, II (Simon and Schuster, 1993), pp.103-28.

'The Evolution of the Two-Up, Two-Down House in Nineteenth Century Lancashire' in A.Crosby (ed.), Lancashire Local Studies (Lancashire County Books, 1993), pp.101-22.

'Technological Change' in M.B.Rose, The Lancashire Cotton Industry (Lancashire County Books, 1996), pp.29-62.

'Decades of Contrast: the Cotton Industry in the mid-Victorian Years’ in I.Inkster (ed.) The Golden Age (Ashgate, 2000), pp.61-74.

‘L’industrie cottoniere du Lancashire au XVIII siecle’ in Le Coton et la Mode (Paris Musees, 2000), pp.108-117.

‘The Industrial Revolution’ in B.Cunliffe,, The Penguin Atlas of British and Irish History (Penguin, 2001) pp.168-71.

'Economic History, Design History and Textiles: Approaches to Reassembling the Disentangled' in C.Boydell and M.Schoeser (ed), Disentangling Textiles: Techniques for the Study of Designed Objects (Middlesex University Press, 2002), pp.208-16.

‘Domestic weaving premises in Lancashire: a contextual analysis’ in P.S.Barnwell, M.Palmer and P.Barnwell and M.Airs (eds), The Vernacular Workshop:From Craft to Industry (Council for British Archaeology, Research Report 140, 2004), pp.90-100.

‘Coping with road traffic in expanding urban areas: Manchester and its environs during the Industrial Revolution’ in D.Broomhead and T.Wyke (eds)  Moving Manchester: Aspects of the History of Transport in the City and Region since 1700 (Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, 2005), pp.69-90.

‘Factory and factory labour in 19th Century Europe’ in J.Merriman and J.Winter (eds), Encyclopaedia of Europe, 1789-1914 (Scribner, 2006).

 ‘Assessing Accommodation Standards in the Early Victorian period’ in B. Doyle (ed), Urban Politics and Space in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007), pp.118-133.

‘Industrial colonies and settlement formation’ in J.Wilson ( ed.) , King Cotton: A Tribute to D.A Farnie (Carnegie Press, 2009), pp.280-304.

(with R.Hart), ‘Lancashire’s highway men: the business community and road improvements during the Industrial Revolution’, Manchester Regional History Review, 21 (2010. (Special edition Business in the North West, edited by John F.Wilson).

‘Roots of Revolution’ in A. Kidd and T. Wyke (Eds), Manchester: Making the Modern City (Liverpool University Press, 2016).