Frank Thorpe

Postgraduate Research Student


Frank graduated with a First Class degree in History from the University of Cambridge, before achieving a Distinction in the interdisciplinary MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies (English Literature/History) at the University of Sheffield

Frank went on to teach secondary school History, before returning to academia. 

Research Interests

Thesis Title

"Changing attitudes to smell in twentieth-century British personal hygiene"

From the 1920s, soaps tackling body odour, or ‘BO’, were marketed at British consumers; by the 1950s, deodorant products had become firmly established in British society. Frank’s research seeks to explain the deodorisation of the personal ‘sensescape’ in modern Britain by exploring shifts in the meanings and stigmas associated with body odours and personal hygiene.

The project involves a partnership with Unilever and documents relating to advertising and market research, as well as material evidence such as product packaging, will be analysed at the company archives. Other key sources for the research include reports from local Medical Officers of Health and school inspectors, the Mass Observation archive, lifestyle magazines and newspapers

Frank’s work is informed by, and will contribute to the development of, methodologies and concepts used in sensory history, the medical humanities and histories of production and consumption.

Twitter: FrankThorpe17

Research Group Membership

Frank is a member of the organising committee for the North West Medical Humanities Postgraduate Network.

Research Funding

Frank was awarded a fully-funded Studentship by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP), as a CASE Doctoral Award, in partnership with Unilever.