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Ruth Mather

Ruth Mather


School of Arts & Humanities

Staff Group(s)
History, Heritage and Global Cultures


Ruth Mather is a Research Assistant working on the Slavery, Cotton, and Nottingham Lace 1780 – 2020 project with Dr Andrew Gritt and Dr Steven King. Her research explores the origins, development, and legacies of Nottingham’s lace industry in a global perspective, considering a broad range of themes including the material qualities of lace, its use and re-use, international networks of supply and demand, and the people whose labour was involved in all stages of lace production. The project aims tell a multifaced story of Nottingham lace from its raw materials and historic links to slavery, through the processes of making and finishing, marketing, and export, to its enduring presence in civic memory and beyond.

Career overview

Ruth Mather completed her PhD in History at Queen Mary, University of London in 2016. Prior to joining Nottingham Trent University in May 2021, she taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of York and worked as a freelance research assistant. Between 2017 and 2019, Ruth was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the University of Exeter’s ‘Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine, 1861 – 1865’ project, contributing to the freely accessible database resource of the same name. She has experience of working in the arts and heritage sector and was Production Executive at Bradford Literature Festival between 2016 and 2017.

Research areas

Ruth’s previous research has focused on power and resistance in the ‘long’ nineteenth century, with a particular interest in everyday forms of protest and political action. Her PhD thesis highlighted the importance of home and family life in British political radicalism in the years 1790-1820, demonstrating that attention to the politicisation of domestic life can help us better understand the role of women in politics. Ruth retains a particular interest in the use of material culture as historical evidence, and in addressing the methodological challenges of accessing the perspectives of marginalised people in history. She also has a strong commitment to making historical research accessible and relevant for audiences beyond academia.


Mather, R. ‘Politicising the English Working-Class Home, c.1790 – 1820’. In V. Holmes, J. Harley, and L. Nevalainen (eds.), The Working Class at Home, 1770-1940 (Palgrave, forthcoming 2021).

Mather, R. ‘Remembering Protest in the Late-Georgian Working-Class Home.’ In C. Griffin and B. McDonagh (eds.),Remembering Protest in Britain since 1500: Memory, Materiality and Landscape (Palgrave, 2018), pp.135 – 158.

Mather, R. ‘“These Lancashire women are witches in politics”: Female reform societies and the theatre of radicalism, 1819 – 1820.’ In R. Poole (ed.), Return to Peterloo (Manchester Centre for Regional History, 2014), pp.49 – 64.

Mather, R. ‘“The same power that scourged us is now oppressing you”: The Queen Caroline Affair in North-West England, 1820-21.’ Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Vol. 162 (2013), pp.137 – 158.