I studied English literature and history at the West London Institute of Higher Education from 1983 to 1986. I graduated with a first class honours degree, and in 1990 I began a PhD researching British West Indian newspapers during the 1820s and 1830s. I was awarded my doctorate in 1994, and passed the viva without the need to rewrite. An article based on part of the PhD was published in 1995 in Slavery & Abolition, the leading academic journal in the field. I have continued with intermittent research since completion, and have uncovered a great deal of additional material which I am currently incorporating into the original PhD with the goal of eventual publication.
From 1995 to 2002 I worked at the Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC), where I assisted with maintaining and developing the National Register of Archives, and was heavily involved in researching, writing and editing the HMC’s twelfth guide to sources for British history (Papers of British Antiquaries and Historians (2003)). I moved from the HMC to a firm of professional probate genealogists in 2002, and remained with the company until May 2010. I have worked as a freelance researcher and editor since then, and also currently work part-time as an Information Assistant in the Teaching and Learning Support Team at the Mile End campus Library of Queen Mary University of London.