Isabelle Carter

Department of History

Research student & Teaching assistant


Thesis title: The lived experience of post-war multi-storey council housing: reassessing Sheffield's Park Hill and Manchester's Hulme.




Thesis abstract:

This project adopts a comparative case study analysis of the Park Hill flats in Sheffield and the Hulme estate in Manchester from the late 1950s to the 1990s.

With a focus upon residents’ interactions with space, policy and the media, it seeks to move beyond the polarising framework of the ‘rise and fall’ of multi-storey council housing prevalent in existing literature. 

The project uses oral history interviews with former residents, social surveys and tenants’ documents, to explore the extent to which residents’ narratives of their lived experience intersect with wider political and cultural discourses of prominent, high-density estates in the inner city.  

Research interests:

Housing, class, community, urban space, oral history.

  • PhD History, University of Sheffield, 2017 - present
  • MA Historical Research, University of Sheffield, 2017
  • BA (Hons) History, University of Leicester, 2016


  • PhD scholarship: AHRC White Rose College of Arts and Humanities
  • University of Sheffield WRoCAH and Faculty of Arts and Humanities Doctoral Academy Scholarship, 2016-2017
  • University of Leicester Professor J. Simmons Prize, 2015-2016.
Teaching activities

University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant 2020-21 academic year: 

  • HST112 Paths from Antiquity to Modernity
  • HST117 The Making of the Twentieth Century

University of Sheffield Teaching Assistant previous years: 

  • HST119 The Transformation of the United Kingdom, 1800 to the present
Professional activities
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Widening Participation Facilitator, Witness Oral History Project (2018-19).
Publications and conferences

Conference and seminar papers:

  • ‘‘Why don’t you say something useful for a change?’: the Hulme tenant magazine and multi-storey housing in 1980s Manchester’, Empowered: Agency, Authority, and its Limitations, Sheffield Hallam University (2018).
  • ‘‘Rise and fall’ or somewhere in between? The archival record and lived experience of multi-storey council tenants in post-war England’, Ways of Knowing in (and about) Modern Britain, University of Birmingham (2018).
  • ‘Growing up off the ground: youth and multi-storey housing in Sheffield and Manchester’s inner cities, c. 1957-1985’, Community, Culture, Crisis: the Inner City in Post-War Britain, University of Leicester (2019).
  • ‘Sometimes it gets me down…but sometimes it’s great’: space, emotions and the lived experiences of multi-storey council tenants in Sheffield and Manchester, c. 1960-1990’, The Social History Society Annual Conference, University of Lincoln (2019).
  • ‘Moving histories of multi-storey council estates in post-war Sheffield and Manchester’, Migration and Mobility: Views from Past and Present, University of Sheffield (2019).

Book reviews:

Isabelle Carter, ‘Working-class community in the age of affluence’, Contemporary British History, 33/2 (2019), pp. 290-291.

Blog posts:

  • ‘Love Among The Ruins’? Telling The Social History Of Sheffield’s Best-Known Housing Estates’, History Matters (2018).
  • ‘‘A woman’s paradise’? Women and Everyday Life at Sheffield’s Park Hill’, Women’s History Network (2019).