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Jack Moss

History, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Histories of the High-Street Shopper: Boots and the experience of chain-store retail, 1880-1980

I am a third-year of PhD History student at the University of Nottingham, undertaking a Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Boots Archive. My research looks at the history, culture and experience of high-street shopping in postwar Britain and makes use of the vast holdings of the Boots company archives. The thesis takes the introduction of “self-service” formats as its starting point, and explores how Boots adapted this model for their own ends. It subsequently investigates how the arrival of self-service ideas effected wider company practices such as store design, merchandising and staff training. 

Research Area

  • History


Papers Delivered in 2022:

  • "Shoplifting, Boots and The Bristol Experiment: Retail Crime in 1970s Britain". For Contemporary History and Politics Seminar Series. University of Nottingham. March 2022
  • "Self-Service and Boots the Chemist". For CHORD on-line seminar series. University of Wolverhampton. May 2022. 

Public Engagement & Impact

Published Blog posts:

  • "Retail History blog" for CHORD (Centre for the History of Retail and Distribution), University of Wolverhampton (Aug 2022)- "An Experiment in Selling?- Introducing Self-Service Selling at Boots the Chemist 1951-56". Here

Other Research Interests

  • History of architecture 
  • History of postwar planning and development 
  • History of Medicine

Career Bio

I undertook a BA in History at the University of Manchester between 2005- 2008. After this, I worked as a museum professional at various instituitions including the Science Museum Group and the Horniman Museum. I worked as an Assistant Curator of Medicine on the Science Museum's 'Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries' between 2014- 2017, after which point I left to study an MSc in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester. I curated the imagery of the Laing Construction Company for Historic England's Breaking New Ground project prior to commencing this PhD project.