Studied with the Open University as a mature student while working full time as an administrator for various organisations. Completed a BA in History and then an MA after studying modules on the industrial revolution, local history, the poor and poverty, total war and social change, nation states, princes and peoples and the Fronde, among others. The MA dissertation looked at trade unions in the 1926 general strike, focussing on the role that trades councils played as organising committees and councils of action. The focus of the thesis was outside of London and the large metropolitan areas of the north and the midlands. Therefore, the city of Peterborough was used as a case study, where there was also a lack of historical research on trade unionism locally. The focus and discoveries in the thesis provided inspiration for the PhD research.