New doctoral studentship: Women and Work in the City of London, 1870-1970, in partnership with the Baring Archive

Applications are invited for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award at the University of Oxford, in partnership with the Baring Archive Ltd (for 2021-22 entry).

Working primarily with the Baring Archive’s historical personnel files, this project seeks to understand the characteristics of the women who sought white-collar employment in the financial sector from 1873 to the 1960s. Past scholarship on women in the City of London has focused on female investors, or individual women executives at the very top of their organisations. Despite the impressive surge in scholarship on the history of working women in Britain, the topic of female white-collar workers in the financial sector remains under-researched. We are also concerned with discovering how the nature of office work changed – for example, through new office technologies and procedures – and how the changes may have affected women and men differently. Within these broad parameters, the doctoral candidate will have the opportunity to define her/his specific research questions.

This CDA has the potential to break important new ground in the history of women and work, and the social and cultural history of the City of London. Female staff first arrived at Baring Brothers merchant bank in 1873, a full twenty years before the Bank of England began employing women and over forty years before women began working for other City banks such as London County Westminster, a predecessor of NatWest. The first eight women worked in Baring Brothers’ Coupon Department, checking and sorting the interest paid to bondholders. Who were the women who chose to pursue a job at Barings, where did they come from, and what criteria were used to hire them? Once hired, what were their individual and collective experiences within Baring Brothers (later Barings Bank)?

For full details see 

The project will be supervised by Dr. Rowena Olegario, Co-Director of the Global History of Capitalism project within the Faculty of History, University of Oxford; and Clara Harrow, Head Archivist, Baring Archive Ltd.