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Shane Smith

Shane completed an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Northumbria University in 2008. After several years of working in educational roles at Seven Stories Museum and Archives in Newcastle, Shane returned to full time education and completed an MRes in History at Northumbria in 2014. The dissertation researched the introduction of the New Poor Law in Northumberland. This also involved an investigation of wider themes of poverty and poor relief in the early nineteenth century, with a particular focus on North East England. Doctoral work commenced in October 2014. 


MRes History, Northumbria University, 2014

Ba (Hons) History and Politics, 1st Class, Northumbria University, 2008

Research Project

The migration of British Military veterans to the Canadian Colonies 

Research Group

British and Irish Worlds Group

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

  • British Migration to Canada in the nineteenth century.
  • The British Empire and the development of the Canadian colonies
  • Poverty and poor relief in the nineteenth century.

Current/Recent Projects

Researching the plight of paupers during the first decades of the nineteenth century led to Shane asking questions about the fate of British military veterans, particularly after 1815. This helped to shape the current PhD research regarding Chelsea Pensioners and demobbed soldiers of various ranks who migrated to the Canadian Colonies. The research investigates the experiences these men had when forging new lives for themselves and their families in settler communities in Upper Canada, Lower Canada and the Maritimes, as well as the impact they had in shaping the nature of the colonies. The research considers whether these men came to the colonies as loyal Empire builders; or whether they were in fact physically and mentally traumatised by their experiences of war and sought to repair their lives in the New World.

Key Publications

‘Representations of the 1838 Elizabeth Graham scandal in local and national newspapers, and the administration of poor relief in Newcastle’ Contemporary Perceptions conference, Northumbria University 2014.

‘The New Poor Law of 1838 and Twenty-Frist Century attitudes to Poverty’ One Eye on the Past, January 2014.


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