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Dr Michael Reeve

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Professional biography

I joined the OU's History Department in 2022, following more than two years as a Lecturer in History at Bishop Grosseteste University. Before this, I taught History and academic skills at Leeds Beckett University. I completed a doctorate in History at the University of Hull in 2019, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). I also completed an MA in Social and Cultural History at the University of Leeds (2015) and a BA in English & History at Leeds Beckett University (2014). Prior to completing these degrees, I spent four years studying Social Sciences part-time at the OU: this is where my passion for higher education and research really began. I am a Fellow of Advance HE (Higher Education Academy), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a committee member of History Lab Plus, a network dedicated to supporting and advocating for Early Career Historians, based at the Institute of Historical Research. I am a new member of the Centre for War and Peace in the Twentieth Century, based in the OU History Department.

Research interests

I am a historian of modern Britain, with research interests related to the social and cultural history of war, consumption and empire. I am particularly interested in the endurance and resilience of civilians and service personnel in the context of war. This interest, in endurance and resilience among ordinary people, runs like a thread throughout my work in diverse areas of modern British and European History. 

My research on smoking culture, tobacco consumption and provision has focused on British military and civilian contexts during the First World War, particularly the use of tobacco as a mild narcotic in situations of combat and war strain, as well as its symbolism in codes of martial masculinity and patriotism.

I have also published on Victorian and Edwardian urban culture and the ‘coastal-urban’ context during the First World War, focusing on the north-east coast of England and the civilian experience of naval and aerial bombardment. My first monograph, Bombardment, Public Safety and Resilience in English Coastal Communities during the First World War, was published in 2021 by Palgrave Macmillan.

My current research project focuses on the use of tobacco by military personnel and non-combatants in the context of modern wars involving Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the Crimean War, Second Boer War, and the First and Second World Wars.

Teaching interests

I am a member of the module team for the Level 1 module Revolutions (A113) and the Level 3 module Europe 1914-1989: war, peace, modernity (A327). I am also an Associate Lecturer on the Level 1 module Discovering the arts and humanities (A111), with my teaching based in the Yorkshire region.

Impact and engagement

In 2021, I worked as a historical consultant and interviewee on the Channel 4 documentary series Britain by Beach (presented by Anita Rani), utilising my research into the naval bombardment of Scarborough in December 1914. 

In 2019, I appeared on the ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’ podcast, presented by Dr Tom Thorpe of the Western Front Association. 

I have worked on public engagement and heritage research projects at the Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepool (2018-19) and the North of England Civic Trust (now Cultura Trust) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (2017). 

External collaborations

I have been a member of the committee of History Lab Plus since 2020. HL+ is a network for Early Career Historians based at the Institute of Historical Research. From 2017-20, I was web editor and social media officer at the Society for the Study of Labour History (incl. membership of the Executive Committee). 

In 2017, I co-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Regional and Local History with Dr Andrew McTominey (Leeds Beckett University) on northern identity, history and heritage. More information here.

I have been awarded the following prizes for research:

  • Gordon Forster Essay Prize 2020 (awarded by the Northern History journal).
  • European Association for Urban History, Postgraduate Paper Prize, runner-up (bi-annual conference, Rome, 2018). 
  • Beresford Award, Yorkshire History Prize 2016 (awarded by the Yorkshire Society). 

I am a member of the Global Tobacco History Network, the Military Welfare History Network, the Coastal History Network, the International Society for First World War Studies and the European Association for Urban History.


Managing risk in the ‘danger zone’: Defensive infrastructure and public safety discourses on the north-east coast of England during the First World War (2022-12)
Reeve, Michael
Coastal Studies & Society, 1(2-4) (pp. 180-208)

[Book Review] Beyond Trawlertown: memory, life and legacy in the wake of the Cod Wars by Jo Byrne (2022)
Reeve, Michael
International Journal of Regional and Local History, 17(2) (pp. 115-116)

‘An Empire Dock’: Place Promotion and the Local Acculturation of Imperial Discourse in ‘Britain’s Third Port’ (2021)
Reeve, Michael
Northern History, 58(1) (pp. 129-150)

‘Are we downhearted? NO!’: representing war damage and destruction following bombardment on the First World War ‘home front’ (2021)
Reeve, Michael
Critical Military Studies, 7(4) (pp. 397-417)

[Book Review] Star shell reflections 1914-1916: the illustrated Great War diaries of Jim Maultsaid (2018)
Reeve, Michael
First World War Studies, 9(3) (pp. 367-368)

[Book Review] Brad Beaven, Karl Bell and Robert James (eds.), Port Towns and Urban Cultures: International Histories of the Waterfront, c. 1700–2000. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. (2017-05)
Reeve, Michael
Urban History, 44(2) (pp. 347-349)

Grim up North?: Northern Identity, History, and Heritage (2017)
Reeve, Michael and McTominey, Andrew
International Journal of Regional and Local History, 12(2) (pp. 65-76)

“The Darkest Town in England”: Patriotism and Anti-German Sentiment in Hull, 1914–19 (2017)
Reeve, Michael
International Journal of Regional and Local History, 12(1) (pp. 42-63)

Special Needs, Cheerful Habits: Smoking and the Great War in Britain, 1914–18 (2016)
Reeve, Michael
Cultural and Social History, 13(4) (pp. 483-501)

Bombardment, Public Safety and Resilience in English Coastal Communities during the First World War (2021)
Reeve, Michael
ISBN : 978-3-030-86850-5 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham

'Something-to-smoke, at the right time, is a godsend': Voluntary Action and the Provision of Cigarettes to Soldiers during the First World War (2021)
Reeve, Michael
In: Linch, Kevin and Lord, Matthew eds. Redcoats to Tommies: The Experience of the British Soldier from the Eighteenth Century
Publisher : Boydell and Brewer

Smoking and Cigarette Consumption (2018)
Reeve, Michael
In: Daniel, Ute; Gatrell, Peter; Janz, Oliver; Jones, Heather; Keene, Jennifer; Kramer, Alan and Nasson, Bill eds. 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War
Publisher : Freie Universität Berlin | Published : Berlin