Dr James Nott

Dr James Nott

B.A., MSt, DPhil (Oxon), FRHistS, Lecturer

Contact Details

E-mail - jjn4@st-and.ac.uk
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462918
Fax - +44 (0)1334 462914

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews


Teaching and Research Interests

Twentieth Century British Social and Cultural History; Popular Culture and Leisure (esp. music, dance halls); history of Mass Media (cinema, radio, gramophone); the British Film Industry; the BBC; Class and Culture; Interwar Britain; Second World War Home Front. Research to date has focused on several neglected areas of culture in early twentieth century Britain, notably, popular music and dance halls. These vital aspects of popular culture have been examined in relation to the development of an increasingly affluent and consumer oriented population; as part of a new wave of businesses adopting modern marketing and advertising techniques; and as part of an increasingly cosmopolitan ‘mass culture’, influenced by Americanisation, mechanisation and commercialisation. Current research includes: reactions to jazz and dancing in 1920s Britain; women and dance halls; and a social and cultural history of dance halls in Britain in the Twentieth Century.


Main Publications

Articles and Chapters
  • J. Nott, “Dance Halls: Towards an Architectural and Spatial History, c. 1918–65” (2018) 61, Architectural History, pp. 205-233
  • J. Nott, ‘The dancing front: dancing, morale and the war effort in Britain during World War II,’ Journal of Social History, volume 51.2 (Winter 2017), pp. 387-406
  • J. Nott, 'Contesting Popular Dancing and Dance Music During the 1920s,' in Cultural and Social History, volume 10.3 (September 2013), pp 439-456.
  • J. Nott, '"The Plague Spots of London": William Joynson-Hicks, the Conservative Party and the Campaign against London's nightclubs, 1924-29' in C. Griffiths, J. Nott, W, Whyte (eds.), Cultures, Classes and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin (OUP,2011)
  • B. Harrison (ed.), New Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004)
    Heimann, Carl Louis Bertram Reinhold (1896-1968), businessman; Caldicott, Alfred James (1842-1897), organist and composer ;Cellier, Alfred (1844-1891), composer and conductor ;Coward, Sir Henry (1849-1944), chorus master ;MacKinlay, Antoinette Sterling (1843-1904), singer ;Moir, Frank Lewis (1852-1904), composer ;Molloy, James Lynam (1837-1909), composer

  • J. Ramsden (ed.),The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century British Politics (Oxford University Press, 2002)
    Welfare State/ National Health Service/ Old Age Pensions/ Seebohm Rowntree/ Holidays with Pay
Media Work


  • Last Man in the Hammersmith Palais, interviewed/appeared, BBC 4 broadcast December 2007
    1 hour Documentary which recounts the story of west London venue the Hammersmith Palais, talking about  it’s birth as a dance hall in the 1920s/30s.
  • Dance Britannia, interviewed/appeared, BBC 4 broadcast December 2007
    A three part history of social dancing in Britain for BBC4. Episode 1: Dance Hall Days, talking about moral panic and dancing, women and dancing and the new social dances of the 1920s and 1930s.
  • The Vera Lynn Story, interviewed/appeared, BBC2  broadcast September 2010
    A documentary of the life of Vera Lynn, led by Sir David Frost.
  • Len Goodman’s Dancing Feet: The British Ballroom Story, interviewed/appeared, BBC4/BBCHD broadcast December 2012
    A 1 hour documentary looking at the development of ballroom dancing in Britain, talking about the social functions of dance halls and their popularity.


  • Books and Arts’ - ‘Going to the Palais,’ ABC Radio National, Australia, 18 June 2016
    Listen here:

  • James Nott: Going to the Palais - Books and Arts - ABC ...
    At the turn of the 20th Century, dancing was mostly an upper class pursuit in Britain. But by the 1930s, it had become a modern craze and millions of people were ...

  • ‘Thinking Allowed’ – ‘Going to the Palais,’ BBC Radio 4, 23 March 2016
    Listen here:

  • Dance halls, Pick-up artists, Thinking Allowed - BBC Radio 4
    Dance halls: a social and cultural history. James Nott, Lecturer in History at the University of St. Andrews, talks to Laurie Taylor about the origins, meaning and ...

  • Making History, feature item/interview, BBC Radio 4 broadcast February 2010
    Radio appeal and discussion related to my research on Britain’s dance hall culture.

  • Deborah Bull’s Dance Nation, interviewed/appeared, BBC Radio 4 broadcast September 2012
    Radio series looking at the history of dance in Britain. Several appearances


Teaching Duties

Participates in the teaching of Second Level Modern History and offers the following Honours courses:

Participates in the teaching of the following Postgraduate course:

Research Students

Current Research Students

  • Louise Heron, 'Male Violence in Scotland in the interwar period'
  • Tomochika Sato, The Impact of Touring Theatre Companies in Britain c1868-1914

Completed Research Students

  • Martin Dibbs, Shaping popular culture: radio broadcasting, mass entertainment and the work of the BBC Variety Department 1933-1967


Main Publications

Music for the People