Welcome to the webpage of Martin Johnes, Professor of Modern History at Swansea University.

I specialise in the histories of modern Wales and British popular culture. I’ve published various books and articles that look at Welsh identity, politics, popular sports, obscure sports, national identity, disasters and local government. 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.

 Many of these articles can be downloaded from my profile.   A full list of my academic publications can be found here.

I am regular contributor to the media on issues of Welsh history, politics and identity. Links to and a list of my journalism and presenting can be found here.

Blog entries can be searched via the tags on the right. Recent posts are below.

A brief history of Advent calendars in the UK

Advent calendars, like so many British Christmas traditions, have their roots outside the UK. They are an evolution of a practice found in Germany of counting down through the Christian festival of Advent towards Christmas. This was often done through the lighting of candles on each of Advent’s four Sundays.  In the nineteenth century, a … Continue reading “A brief history of Advent calendars in the UK”

Stories of a Post-industrial Hero: The Death of Johnny Owen

First published as: Martin Johnes (2011) Stories of a Post-industrial Hero: The Death of Johnny Owen, Sport in History, 31:4, 444-463, DOI: 10.1080/17460263.2011.646832 Boxing has a history of attracting the interest of intellectuals and serious writers. The likes of Norman Mailer and Ernest Hemingway have been fascinated not just by boxing’s brutality but also by its symbolic power. It is easy to … Continue reading “Stories of a Post-industrial Hero: The Death of Johnny Owen”


Download the programme and abstracts New Directions in Welsh History: An Online ‘Zoom’ Conference Saturday 24 October 2020 We would like to host a conference that allows historians to present the latest academic research on the history of Wales.  We encourage people to present both polished arguments and ideas in progress. Papers that reflect on … Continue reading “#hanescymru2020”