Dr Alexander Wakelam

I am a historian of Britain (1700-1900) researching the history of “work” in society from economic and cultural perspectives. My work explores the range of occupations which characterised commerce, particularly the experiences of businesswomen, and I also specialise in the history of debt and insolvency.

Currently I am a Keynes Fund Research Associate in the Economics Faculty at the University of Cambridge constructing a database of men elected to local borough councils 1867-1900. This project combines newspaper reports of elections with census data to explore how the “supply side” of councillors (i.e. the social and economic background of politicians rather than their voters) impacted spending decisions such as on improved sanitation.

My first book Credit and Debt in Eighteenth-Century England – An Economic History of Debtors’ Prisons was published in July 2020 and I continue to work on insolvency in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain as well as the role of guilds and the experience of the Industrial Revolution for commercial women.

I have previously provided consultation for TV, commercial partners, and charities on insolvency, the history of women, and occupational change and would be happy to speak on any similar topic.