Catherine Freeman

Catherine Freeman BA , MA

PGR student

Catherine is a doctoral student looking at ideas of respectable femininity and their relationship with education and employment for girls across the historic county of Surrey between 1870 and 1914. She came to this topic from writing and delivering adult tours at the V&A Museum of Childhood and trying to engage visitors with the social history behind objects. Her MA in Victorian Studies combined with considering childhood objects leant themselves very well to probing ideas further.


In 2018 Catherine was selected to be one of twenty-eight education doctorate students from across the globe to attend the History of Education Doctoral Summer School, held that year at the University of Latvia in Riga.

Catherine held the History of Education Society UK's Brian Simon Award for expenses incurred from attending ISCHE in 2018 and 2019.

She has also been awarded grants from the History of Education Society UK to attend their own conferences.


2016 to present: secretary to the Children's History Society.

2017 to present: administrator and co-convenor to the IHR Life Cycle's seminar group.

Society Membership:

  • Women's History Network
  • Children's History Society
  • Royal Historical Society
  • History of Education Society (UK)
  • Society for Educational Studies

Research / Scholarly interests

Currently writing up her thesis.

Catherine's work approach is to include girls from across the classes. This involves looking at industrial, elementary and secondary schools. This has included new research using school logbooks from public and private archives, school magazines and annual reports. Archive material has been supplemented with newspaper articles, maps and census returns to build pictures of girls' backgrounds, the educations they undertook and what they went on to do.
Throughout her doctoral studies, Catherine has presented at conferences both in the UK and abroad. This included the 2018 and 2019 International Standing Conference (ISCHE) on the History of Education in Berlin and Porto respectively. At Porto, she also chaired a panel. Catherine has given papers at the History of Education UK conference. Further UK conferences at which she has presented include 2018's Education, Women and Suffrage International Perspectives conference held at Royal Holloway, wherein she looked at pupil engagement in the suffrage debate at a girls' school in Guildford and the Children's History Society conference at the University of Greenwich, where her paper addressed ideas concerning movement in an industrial school. How girls occupied space was addressed in a paper delivered at the University of Winchester for the Geographies of Gender conference in 2019.