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Military Service, Philanthropy and Security in Modern Britain: The History of the Corps of Commissionaires

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Churchill
    Dr J Meyer
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project will explore the history of the Corps of Commissionaires - a British charity that provided employment for former military service personnel from 1859. It offers the opportunity to use the rich, private archive of the Corps to explore new perspectives on major developments in the social, cultural and military history of modern Britain, from the mid-nineteenth to the late-twentieth century. As a collaborative project between the University of Leeds and Corps Security (the descendent of the Commissionaires), it presents opportunities to develop new public and business engagement initiatives designed to promote understanding of the Corps archive and the organisation’s unique heritage.

The research offers exciting original insights into major shifts in military service, philanthropy and security in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Britain. Ranging from the Corps’s foundation in 1859 to limited company status in 1973, the project encompasses transformations in military service (from the Crimean War to the mass mobilisations of the world wars), decisive shifts in social welfare (from an age of philanthropy to the ascendency of the welfare state), and the evolution of civil security (from the era of the ‘new’ police to the emergence of the private security industry). The successful applicant will tailor these rich and varied opportunities for research to their own interests and expertise, focusing on particular themes and/or periods of the Corps’s history, and selecting from a range of available archival materials, including administrative, corporate and legal records, members’ registers, press cuttings, scrapbooks, correspondence and photographs.

The project is supported by an expert supervisory team. The academic supervisors – Dr David Churchill and Dr Jessica Meyer – are social historians with expertise in private security and military welfare respectively, who are ideally placed to support this project. They have conducted extensive research on policing, security, military servicemen, medical provision and care for demobilised soldiers. The partner supervisor, Diz Sollesse, is Archive Custodian at Corps Security. She will offer specialist expertise on the archive and support public and business engagement initiatives.

Funding Notes

The WRoCAH Collaborative Doctoral Awards fund research for 3 years full-time/5 years part-time.

The awards comprise UK/EU fees at Research Council rates and, for eligible students, a maintenance grant (£15,009 in 2019/20).

Please see the WRoCAH website for residency requirements and further information. Awards must be taken up in October 2020 and no deferrals are possible. Applicants must meet the AHRC’s academic criteria and residency requirements.

The applicant selected by the project team will be put forward for a full application to the main WRoCAH competition. Being selected by the project team is not a guarantee of funding.

Related Subjects

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