Pete joined Loughborough in 2015. Prior to that, he held teaching posts at Lancaster, Manchester Metropolitan University, UCLAN, University of Nottingham, and the University of Manchester. He was also Research Associate on the AHRC-funded ‘A Cultural History of English Pantomime’ between 2009 and 2012, a collaboration between the universities of Lancaster, Birmingham, and Exeter.

Pete holds a Senior Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy. His interest in pedagogy developed from his experience teaching in secondary schools. He regularly attends and speaks at events concerned with best practice in the learning and teaching of History in schools and in higher education.

He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Victorian Culture and Nineteenth-Century Theatre and Film

Current research focuses on cultural histories of imperialism and militarism in modern Britain. Articles in preparation focus on: Victorian and early twentieth-century multi-media news reporting of war; battle re-enactments and traveling shows; early film culture; TV broadcasting and decolonisation; and nineteenth-century children’s toys and board games. The longer-term book-length project examines animal histories (zoos, circuses, menageries), theatre histories (pantomime, music hall, melodrama), display histories (exhibitions, museums, battle re-enactments) and ‘street’ performances (pageants, festivals, carnivals). A working title is ‘Theatres of Empire: popular imperialism and performance culture in Britain, 1851-1925’.

Pete’s PhD focused on educational psychology and citizenship in the development of history teaching in English schools. The subsequent monograph Citizenship, Nation, Empire: the politics of history teaching in England was published by Manchester University Press in 2015. He remains interested in issues related to the teaching of history, in schools and higher education.

Pete contributes to several team-taught modules at Loughborough, including survey and skills modules. His second-year module, Victorian Values Reconsidered, examines nineteenth-century histories of politics, gender, race, sexuality, and religion. For third years, he offers a sources-based module on Empire, War, and Popular Culture which incorporates extensive training in the use of online primary resources.

Current Supervision

Completed Theses

  • 2021. Olivia Mitchell, ‘Representations of the Begums of Bhopal in the British Press, 1857-1912: a study of loyalty, race, and gender’
  • 2023. Tasha Kitcher, 'The Electrophone: The Life and Death of a Victorian Broadcasting Device 1893 - 2023' -


Edited Collection


  • “The Elephant and the Pantomime: popular imperialism and popular culture in Britain”, Modern History Review, 24:4 (2022)
  • ‘Decolonising Imperial Heroes: Britain and France’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42:5 (2014), 787-825. Introduction and guest edit of special issue, with Max Jones, Berny Sebe, Jon Strachan and Bertrand Taithe.
  • ‘“Heroes into Zeroes”: the politics of (not) teaching Britain’s imperial past’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 42:5 (2014), 882-911.
  • ‘John Ruskin and the Christian Socialist Conscience’, Ruskin Review and Bulletin 8:2 (2012), 14-21.
  • 'Art, Ethics, Pleasure: The Influence of John Ruskin on the Reverend Stewart Duckworth Headlam', Nineteenth-Century Prose 38:2 (2011), 109-32.
  • ‘Englishness in Retrospect’? Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 6:2 (2006), 9-26.

Book chapters

  • ‘“Jumboism is Akin to Jingoism”: race, nation and empire in the elephant craze of 1882’, in S. Barczewski and M. Farr (eds.), The MacKenzie Moment in Imperial History (Palgrave, 2019), 47-74
  • ‘“Exotic Bodies and Mundane Medicines”: advertising and empire in the late-Victorian press’, in Helen Kingstone and Kate Lister, eds. Paraphernalia! Victorian Things (Routledge, 2018)
  • ‘“Executed with remarkable care and artistic feeling”: music-hall ballet and popular imperialism’, in Yeandle, Newey and Richards (eds.), Politics, Performance and Popular Culture (MUP, 2016), 152-73.
  • ‘Exotic people and exotic places in Victorian pantomime’, in Tiziana Morosetti (ed.), Staging the Other in Nineteenth-Century British Drama (Peter Lang, 2015), 125-51.
  • ‘Campaigning Histories’, in Pedro Ramos Pinto and Bertrand Taithe, The Impact of History? Histories in the twenty-first century (London: Routledge, 2015), pp. 123-38
  • ‘Church on/as Stage: Stewart Headlam’s rhetorical theology’, in Claire Maria Chambers, Simon du Toit, and Joshua Edelman (eds.), Performing Religion in Public (Palgrave, 2013), 97-116 (with Tom Grimwood).
  • ‘Christian Socialism on the Stage? Henry Arthur Jones’s Wealth (1889) and the dramatisation of Ruskinian Political Economy’, in Keith Hanley and Brian Maidment (eds.), Persistent Ruskin: Studies in Influence, Assimilation and Effect (Ashgate, 2013), 93-104.
  • ‘Lessons in Englishness and Empire, c. 1880-1914: further thoughts on the English/British conundrum’, in Helen Brocklehurst and Robert Phillips (eds.), History, Nationhood and the Question of Britain (Palgrave 2004), 274-88.