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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr. Christopher Massey has always been fascinated by British labour and trade union history. His doctoral thesis explored the 1945-51 Labour Governments’ attitude to steel nationalisation, whilst his recent work includes the official biography of Lord Tom Sawyer, and a forthcoming monograph published by Manchester University Press entitled The Modernisation of the Labour Party, 1979-97.

Christopher has longstanding links to Teesside University. He graduated from the University in 2007 with first-class BA degree in history, and completed an MA the following year, graduating with distinction. In 2012, Christopher submitted his PhD thesis, ‘Public Ownership and the Labour Governments of 1945-51: The Case of Steel Nationalisation’ and graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy.

In 2015, Christopher returned to the University to take up the position of post-doctoral researcher in history. His research project concentrated on the life and career of Lord Tom Sawyer, Teesside University’s former Chancellor and a key figure in the Labour Party and trade union movement. Lord Sawyer played a crucial, but often unseen and uncredited role in Labour's modernisation in the 1979-97 period. As a prominent NEC member (1983-97), the Chair of Labour's Policy Review (1987-92), and the Party's General Secretary (1994-98), Sawyer played the greatest individual part in the birth of New Labour outside of Kinnock, Blair and Brown. 

Dr. Massey published the official biography of Lord Sawyer, The Man at the Back: The Life and Journals of Lord Tom Sawyer in 2017 and is a custodian of Lord Sawyer's personal archive, held at the University.

Christopher teaches across the BA History and BA Politics degrees. He is the Module Leader for ‘Introduction to Politics’, ‘Introduction to International Relations’ and ‘American Politics since 1974’ on the BA Politics degree, ‘European History 1850-1917’, ‘Victorian Britain’, and ‘The Labour Party: 1945-2017’ on the BA History programme, and ‘Teesside: History, Literature, Culture and Society’ at Foundation level.

Dr. Massey is research active in the field of modern British politics and supervises research projects in this field at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Outside of academia Christopher has extensive experience in local government. He has been an elected councillor since 2011 and served as the Deputy Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council between 2017 and 2019. Dr. Massey was also elected to the North York Moors National Park Authority between 2013 and 2019 and has worked for the Local Government Association at a national level. He also retains an interest in education as a recent PGCLTHE graduate, former secondary school teacher and school governor.


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Research Output

  • The modernisation of the Labour Party, 1979-1997

    Massey, C., 2019, (Submitted) Manchester University Press.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Review of Leadership and the Labour Party: Narrative and Performance, (review no. 2196)

    Massey, C., 16 Nov 2017, Reviews in History, review no. 2196.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

    Open Access
  • The Man at the Back: The Archive of Lord Tom Sawyer

    Massey, C., 2 Jun 2017

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

  • The Man at the Back: The Life and Journals of Lord Tom Sawyer

    Massey, C., 2 Jun 2017

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

    Press / Media

    Brexit sparks boom in politics applications at University

    Christopher Massey


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Press / Media

    Brexit and Boris Johnson

    Christopher Massey


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment


    Public Ownership and the Labour Governments of 1945-1951: The Case of Steel Nationalisation

    Author: Massey, C., 2012

    Supervisor: Copsey, N. (Supervisor) & Howell, D. (External person) (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis