Although I had been interested in industrial archaeology for most of my adult life, my formal involvement did not begin until 2002 when, after a 30-year career in the gas industry, I enrolled on the MA course in the subject at Ironbridge. A PhD at the University of Leicester followed, studying the impact of artificial lighting in early factories, with the now AIA President Marilyn Palmer as my supervisor. Since 2009, Marilyn and I have been collaborating on a project studying the impact of historic technology on country houses.
I was asked join AIA’s Council in 2005, initially to develop its health and safety policy, and, with access to a university library, I was the obvious person to take on the role of compiling the abstracts for Industrial Archaeology Review after Peter Neaverson’s death. I have co-ordinated the Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship and the Travel Bursary since their inception in 2007. For the past eight years, I have been one of the co-editors of Industrial Archaeology Review, which I believe may be my most lasting contribution to AIA’s activities, and recently, I also took on the role of co-ordinating our external communications.
This interest in industrial archaeology was a major factor in me and my wife Gill deciding to move to the Ironbridge area, where you may find both of us in various volunteer guide roles (once the museums re-open); you might even find me playing tunes on the Iron Bridge!