My research interests broadly rest with the political and social development of the English state from 1650 to 1750. Having studied the English civil war as an undergraduate, I was interested to see how the state managed to overcome the bitter factionalism of the 1640s and 1650s, at both a national and local level. My doctoral thesis concentrated on a leading provincial town, and allowed me to explore the relationship between politics at the centre and at the periphery. My work suggested that "national" historians have perhaps underestimated the impact which local and regional circumstances could have on political developments in this period, and that the very notion of "politics" needs to be expanded to encompass the significance of social and economic factors in determining allegance. In order to probe these issues further I undertook a study of the English merchant from 1660-1720, so that I could measure the responsiveness of the English state to contemporary commercial and political change. I then pursued these themes by focusing on the City of London and have since widened my interests to incorporate Britain's imperial experience. Historians, led by Lincoln's Paul Langford, have viewed Georgian Britain as a "polite and commercial people", and I hope that my research will help us understand how that came about.