Dr Michael Romyn
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
I am a social and cultural historian of late twentieth-century and contemporary Britain. I completed my AHRC-funded PhD at Birkbeck, University of London in 2018. I subsequently worked on community history projects, before joining the School of History at Queen Mary as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in 2021.
My research focuses on the experiential and emotional dynamics of modern urban Britain. My first book, London’s Aylesbury Estate: An Oral History of the ‘Concrete Jungle’, (Palgrave Macmillan) is a microhistory of south London’s modernist Aylesbury Estate. It examines how changes in housing policy, and wider political, economic and social developments, came to bear on a working-class community — for good and, more especially, for ill. My current research project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores the emotional experience of England’s heavily politicised and racialised ‘inner cities’ from the 1970s until the present day. It asks how dominant representations and emotional responses to the 'inner city' shaped affective experience in certain inner urban areas, and how they gave rise to resilience and resistance in place-orientated communities. My research interests also include community history. Between 2019 and 2021, I coordinated several oral history and reminiscence projects, including the Community Archives and Heritage Group award-winning 'Kent's Sporting Memories' project (Best Community Archive and Heritage Group 2020; Contribution to Wellbeing award).
• Romyn, M., London’s Aylesbury Estate: An Oral History of the ‘Concrete Jungle’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
• Romyn, M., ‘”For them it was just a game but for us it was more”: Black Identity and the Making of Basketball in Urban Britain’, History Workshop Journal, (forthcoming).
• Romyn, M., ‘“We could be anything we wanted to be”: Remembering Jimmy Rogers’, Race & Class, October-December 2019, 62-84.
• Romyn, M., ‘“London Badlands”: The Inner City Represented, Regenerated’, The London Journal, November 2019, 133-150.
• Romyn, M., ‘The Heygate: Community Life in an Inner-City Estate, 1974 – 2011’, History Workshop Journal, Spring 2016, 197-230. Community history
• Romyn, M. (ed.), Kent's Sporting Memories (Maidstone: Kent County Council, 2021).
• Peter Guillery and David Kroll (eds.), Mobilising Housing Histories: Learning from London’s Past, in Planning Perspectives, vol. 32, 2017, 656-658.