Welcome to History on the Dole!

Ever since I was in secondary school, I’ve been encouraged to think of history in an otherwise kind of way, to question the status quo, and to think carefully about everyone involved. The fruits of my research can be found here on History on the Dole.

But first a little about me: I gained my PhD from Swansea University in 2011. It explored social democracy in South Wales and the ways in which mundane things like recreation grounds and swimming baths were bound up with ideas of social justice, equality, and the labour movement. In other words with social democracy. It was supervised patiently by Martin Johnes and given the thumbs up by Tony Collins, Dai Smith, and Chris Williams. I then turned some of it into my first book Fields of Play: The Sporting Heritage of Wales, which was published by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales back in 2012.

The political impetus of my doctoral research gave rise to my more recent scholarly interests: labour history and the history of social democracy more generally. I am, above all, a historian of the interplay between the margins and political representation; but that has taken me in all sorts of directions – from the sports teams that political activists formed in the interwar years, to the demands for equality for sexual minorities, to the provision of early years education in the South Wales Valleys. I have also been writing about council housing, working-class leadership, and adult education. Together, I think these things, and other aspects of the past that I’ve yet to start working on, help to inform an understanding of why social democracy is the best kind of political system. At least, that is, without completely overhauling the way we do things. This is the point of Labour Country: Radicalism and Democracy in South Wales, 1830-1985 my first contribution to Parthian’s new modern Wales series edited by Dai Smith.

I currently teach these things, and more, at the Department for Adult and Continuing Education at Swansea University. There are few jobs in education that are as rewarding as being a tutor in lifelong learning and I am deeply honoured to be working for a department with nearly a century of service to further education.

Feel free to use the box below to get in contact with me at Swansea.

Daryl Leeworthy