Participant Info

First Name
Jessica P.
Last Name
Brock University
Website URL
Modern Britain, London, smell, the senses, beauty, gender, women, labour, enterprise, empire, consumption, capitalism, business, service sector, hair and hairdressing
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of modern Britain who focuses on the senses, women and gender, modernity, and urban space. I’ve written on the history of London’s nineteenth and early twentieth-century beauty businesses, hairdressers and barbers, shopping, labour, and the history of luxury. My book, The Business of Beauty: Gender and the Body in Modern Londonwas published by Bloomsbury in 2020.

My current project explores the role of smell in defining British modernity, identity, and belonging between 1880 and 1930. “Scents of Change: Experiencing Modernity in Britain” mobilizes historical descriptions of smell to analyze circulating ideas about modern experience more generally, including the ways that certain groups—such as the urban poor and foreign nationals—were included and excluded from dominant narratives of national belonging.

Recent Publications


The Business of Beauty: Gender and the Body in Modern London (London: Bloomsbury, 2020).

Co-editor, with Nigel Lezama, Canadian Critical Luxury Studies: Decentring Luxury (Bristol: Intellect Books, 2022).

Chapters and Articles

“‘Lavender for Lads’: Nationalism and Smell in the Great War.” Journal of British Studies, forthcoming.

“Fragrance and Fair Women: Perfumers and Consumers in Modern London,” in Capitalism and the Senses, eds. Regina Blaszczyk and David Suisman. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Press, 2023. 183-202.

“Practices and Processes: the Local and the Global in Nineteenth-Century Shopping” in A Cultural History of Shopping, Volume 5: The Age of Empire, ed. Erika Rappaport (London: Bloomsbury, 2022). 

“‘Will You Give Me Your Opinion?’:Mundane Beauty in the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, 1860–75,” Victorian Periodicals Review 52: 3 (Fall 2019). 

“’Clever Ministrations’: regenerative beauty techniques at the fin de siècle,” Palgrave Communications 3:47 (December 2017).

“Grooming Men: the material world of the nineteenth-century barbershop,” Gender and Material Culture in Britain since 1600. Edited by Hannah Greig, Jane Hamlett, and Leonie Hannan. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 104-119.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Britain, British Empire
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, England, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Gender, Labor, Material Culture, Race, Sexuality, Urban History, Women, World War I