a Welshman can only offer his own interpretation of what has gone into the making of his people. It reveals, as it must, the limitations imposed by nearness, and by the operation within himself of the forces he has tried to describe.

Wyn Griffith, The Welsh (Penguin, 1950)

Still from Song from the Golden Road radio ballad, an arts project that included my research on the history of education in Wales

I work at the Department of History at Swansea University where I teach courses on Modern Wales and Britain.

I grew up in a rural Welsh-speaking community in north Pembrokeshire, before heading off to the brightlights of Cardiff University. After various detours, research and teaching jobs followed at the universities of Oxford, Cardiff and Cumbria.  I joined my current employers in 2006. A Radio Cymru programme discussing my life can be listened to here.

I’ve published various books and articles that look at Welsh identity, politics, popular sports, obscure sports, national identity, disasters and local government. Many of these articles can be downloaded from my academia.edu profile.  At the heart of my research are questions of identity. I am interested in how people think of who they are and their place in their world.

I regularly contribute to the print and broadcast media. In 2019 I wrote and presented a BBC television series entitled Wales: England’s Colony? Links to my journalism and online essays can be found here.  Some of my other appearances on the BBC can be found here.

My main current research project is a book on language and education in 19th century Wales provisionally entitled: Welsh Not: Education and the Anglicization of 19th Century Wales.

Email: m.johnes@swansea.ac.uk


  1. England’s Colony? The Conquest, Assimilation and Re-creation of Wales (Cardigan: Parthian, 2019).
  2. (with Iain McLean), Aberfan: Government and Disaster. Revised Second Edition. (Cardiff: Welsh Academic Press, 2019).
  3. Christmas and the British: A Modern History (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).
  4. Wales since 1939 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012).
  5. (ed). Swansea ‘til I Die: A Century of Supporting the Swans (Swansea City Supporters Trust, 2012).
  6. A History of Sport in Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2005)
  7. (ed., with Paul Darby & Gavin Mellor), Soccer and Disaster: International Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2005)
  8. Soccer and Society: South Wales, 1900-39 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002)
  9. (with Iain McLean), Aberfan: Government and Disasters (Cardiff: Welsh Academic Press, 2000)

Peer reviewed articles and chapters

  1. ‘Humbug and a ‘Welsh Hindoo’: A Small History of Begging, Race and Language in Mid-nineteenth Century Liverpool’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 27, 3 (2022), 387–404. https://doi.org/10.1093/jvcult/vcac033
  2. ‘Masculinity, Modernity and Male Baldness, c.1880‐1939’, Gender and History (2021).  http://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0424.12580  
  3. ‘Race, Archival Silences, and a Black Footballer Between the Wars, Twentieth Century British History, 31, 4 (2020), 530-54. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/tcbh/hwaa023 
  4. (with Matthew Taylor), ‘Boxing, Race, and British Identity, 1945-1962′, The Historical Journal, 63, 5, (2020), 1349-77. DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X19000724  
  5. ‘Race, National Identity and Responses to Muhammad Ali in 1960s Britain’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 36:9-10, (2019), 812-831. DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2019.1679775
  6. (with Christoph Laucht), ‘Resist and survive: Welsh protests and the British nuclear state in the 1980s’, Contemporary British History (2018). DOI: 10.1080/13619462.2018.1519423
  7. ‘Consuming popular music: individualism, politics and progressive rock’, Cultural and Social History, 15:1 (2018), 115-134.  DOI: 10.1080/14780038.2018.1426815
  8. ‘Anglo-Welsh football relations’, in Tom Gibbons and Dominic Malcolm (eds), Sport and English National Identity in a ‘Disunited Kingdom’ (London: Routledge, 2017).
  9. ‘Archives and historians of sport’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 32, 15 (2015), 1784-98. DOI: 10.1080/09523367.2015.1108307
  10. ‘History and the Making and Remaking of Wales’, History, 100 (2015), 667–84.
  11. ‘Welshness, Welsh soldiers and the Second World War’, in Wendy Ugolini & Juliette Pattinson (eds), Fighting for Britain? Negotiating Identities in Britain during the Second World War (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2015), 65-88.
  12. (with Bob Nicholson), ‘Sport history and digital archives in practice’, in Gary Osmond & Murray G. Phillips (eds), Sport History in the Digital Era (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2015), 53-74.
  13. ‘M4 to Wales and Prosper!’ A history of a motorway’, Historical Research, 87, 237 (2014), 556-73.
  14. ‘What’s the point of sports history?’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 30, 1, (2013), 102-8.
  15. ‘Popular Leisure’, in Chris Williams and Andy Croll (eds), The Gwent County History vol. V: The Twentieth Century (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2013).
  16. ‘Cardiff: The Making and Development of the Capital City of Wales’, Contemporary British History, 26, 4 (2012), 509-28.
  17. ‘Wales, history and Britishness’, Welsh History Review, 25, 4 (2011), 596-61.
  18. ‘Wales and the Cold war’, Llafur, 10, 4 (2011), 5-15.
  19. ‘On writing contemporary history’, North American Journal of Welsh Studies, 6, 1 (2011), 20-31.
  20. (with Matthew Taylor), ‘Boxing in history’, Sport in History, 31, 4 (2011), 357-62.
  21. ‘Stories of a post-industrial hero: The death of Johnny Owen’, Sport in History,31, 4 (2011), 444-63.
  22. ‘Looking back on Sport and the British’, Sport in History, 31, 2 (2011), 154-7.
  23. ‘For class and nation: dominant trends in the historiography of twentieth-century Wales’, History Compass, 8, 11, (2010), 1257–74.
  24. ‘Fusßall und nationaleidentität in Wales’ in C. Koller & F. Brändle (eds), FussballZwischen Den Kriegen: Europa 1918-39 (Lit Verlag, 2010), 87-107.
  25. ‘Textos, leitores e pós-modernismo: O romance comofontenahistória do esporte’, Recorde: Revista de História do EsporteArtigo, 3, 2 (2010).
  26. ‘Britain’ in S. W. Pope and John Nauright, eds., Routledge Companion to Sports History (London: Routledge, 2010), 444-60.
  27. ‘British Sports History: The Present and Future’, [North American] Journal of Sport History, 35 (2008), 65-71.
  28. ‘We hate England! We hate England? National identity and anti-Englishness in Welsh soccer fan culture’, Cycnos, 25 (2008), 143-57.
  29. ‘A prince, a king and a referendum: rugby, politics and nationhood in Wales, 1969-1979’, Journal of British Studies, 47 (2008), 129-48.
  30. ‘Texts, audiences and postmodernism: the novel as source in sport history’, [North American] Journal of Sport History, 34 (2007), 121-33. [Reprinted in Wray Vamplew (ed), Sports History (Routledge, 2014).]
  31. ‘Pigeon racing and working-class culture in Britain, c.1850-1950′, Cultural and Social History, 4 (2007), 361-383
  32. ‘Archives, truths and the historian at work: a reply to Doug Booth’s ‘Refiguring the Archive’, Sport in History, 27 (2007), 127-35. [Reprinted in Wray Vamplew (ed), Sports History (Routledge, 2014).]
  33. ‘Inventing a county: Cardiff, South Glamorgan and the 1974 reorganization of local government’, Welsh History Review, 23 (2006), 153-74.
  34. ‘Student perceptions of research in teaching-led higher education’, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 5 (2006), 28-40.
  35. (with Gavin Mellor), ‘The 1953 FA Cup final: modernity and tradition in British culture’, Contemporary British History, 20 (2006), 263-80.
  36. ‘Putting the history into sport: on sports history and sports studies in the UK’, [North American] Journal of Sport History, 31 (2004), 145-60.
  37. ‘Heads in the sand: football, politics and crowd disasters in twentieth-century Britain’, in P. Darby, M. Johnes and G. Mellor, eds., Soccer and Disaster: International Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2005), 10-27.
  38. (with Paul Darby and Gavin Mellor), ‘Soccer and disasters: a conceptual framework’, in Paul Darby, Martin Johnes and Gavin Mellor, eds., Soccer and Disaster: International Perspectives (London: Routledge, 2005), 1-9
  39. ‘”Every day when I wake up I thank the Lord I’m Welsh”: Sport and national identity in post-war Wales’, in A. Smith and D. Porter, eds., Sport and National Identity in the Post-War World (London: Routledge, 2004), 52-68
  40. (with Andy Croll), ‘A heart of darkness? Leisure, respectability and the aesthetics of vice in Victorian Wales’, in M. Huggins and J. A. Mangan, eds., Disreputable Pleasures? Vicious Victorians at Play (London: Routledge, 2004), 153-71
  41. (with Ian Garland), ‘”The new craze”: football and society in north-east Wales, c.1870-1890’, Welsh History Review, 22 (2004), 278-304
  42. ‘The teaching-research nexus in a sports history module’, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 3 (2004), 47-52
  43. ‘Archery, romance and elite culture in England and Wales, c.1780-1840’, History, 89 (2004), 193-208
  44. (with Rhiannon Mason), ‘Soccer, public history and the National Football Museum’, Sport in History, 23 (2003), 115-131
  45. ‘Mushrooms, scandal and bankruptcy: the short life of Mid Rhondda Football Club’, The Local Historian, 32 (2002), 41-53
  46. ‘Poor man’s cricket: baseball, class and community in South Wales, c.1880-1950’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 17 (2000), 153-166
  47. (with Iain McLean), ‘ “Regulation run mad”: The Board of Trade and the loss of the Titanic’, Public Administration, 78 (2000), 729-749
  48. ‘Eighty minute patriots? National identity and sport in modern Wales’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 17 (2000), 93-110
  49. ‘Hooligans and barrackers: crowd disorder and soccer in south Wales, 1906-39’, Soccer and Society, 1 (2000), 19-35
  50. ‘Uneasy relationships: local politics, Merthyr Tydfil Borough County Council and the Aberfan disaster’, Welsh History Review, 20 (2000), 143-166
  51. ‘Aberfan and the management of trauma’, Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management, 24 (2000), 1-17
  52. (with Iain McLean), ‘Regulating gifts of generosity: the Aberfan Disaster Fund and the Charity Commission’, Legal Studies, 19 (1999), 380-96.
  53. ‘Fred Keenor: a Welsh soccer hero’, The Sports Historian, 18 (1998), 105-119

One thought on “About”

  1. My paternal grandmother told me of her experience with WN. She died aged 80 in 1980. She was made to wear it at school in Butetown Rhymney around 1910. She was so upset by it, that she didn’t teach my father or his 3 siblings Welsh, for fear of it happening to them.

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