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Ms Barbara Horley

Job: PhD student

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A



Personal profile

Barbara has a professional background in education, having taught RS and Philosophy up to and including International Baccalaureate and A Level, heading both pastoral and academic departments. Combining a lifetime interest in speedway racing and a desire to return to academic research, Barbara is now a PhD student with the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, researching into speedway racing. She is also a qualified speedway referee.

Research group affiliations

Research interests/expertise

Speedway racing in Great Britain: its origins, its influence on both individuals and local communities, its national profile, how it has been treated in the media; speedway and gender issues; speedway and modernity.


  • B.A. Hons in Theology (University of Birmingham)
  • PGCE (University of Cambridge)
  • MA in Education (The Open University)

Conference attendance

Presented a paper at the BSSH Conference in Liverpool in 2019: 'Out of the Pits and Starting the First Lap! Speedway Racing in the Midlands 1932 - 1965'.

PhD project


Speedway Racing in England, 1928 - 1965


My PhD research seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of speedway racing between 1928 and 1965. It will show how speedway established itself as a major sport in Britain in the interwar and postwar periods, looking at the effect it had on local communities and its role in articulating local identities. It will explore the influence that speedway had on gender issues at the time and, in particular, the experience of women both as riders and spectators. It will show how speedway was seen as an agent of modernity, encouraging new technologies and its relationship with local industry. It will also examine the relationship between speedway and the media and to what extent speedway was influenced by the media of the time.

Name of supervisor(s)