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Olivia Havercroft

Thesis: Agoraphobia and urban space in England, 1880-1914

My research establishes how the urban environment shaped professional and popular understandings of the mind and the consequences of this on urban planning in England, 1880-1914. I will focus on the development of agoraphobia and similar spatially situated disorders in England between c.1880-1914, the period in which major professional constituencies such as planners, psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts successfully formulated themselves and their paradigms as legitimate frameworks for establishing professional, expert discursive authority, both within the state and wider public discourse. My PhD will challenge ideas, both from the past and in contemporary scholarship, that psychiatric diagnoses are best understood within relatively closed professional or cultural discursive frameworks. Instead, I wish to test the hypothesis that medical diagnoses may explicitly inform the evolution of everyday life in an open and public way.


  • Dr Leif Jerram
  • Dr Charlotte Wildman

Funding awards

Faculty of Humanities, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures PGR Studentship 2016-17

Research interests

Urban Geography, Space and Place, Town Planning, Modern British History, Psychology. 

Conference presentations

'Trickery, Tactics, and everyday life in the 20th century library' Lancaster Hist Fest, 29-31 May 2015

Additional information

I studied for my undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex between 2008-2011. I then spent three years in Oxford working as an editor at Oxford University Press and setting up a gender empowerment and music charity. I started a part-time MA in History at the University of Manchester in 2014, before being awarded the University of Manchester Faculty of Humanities PGR studentship in 2016 to undertake my PhD.