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School of Geography

Martin Purvis Dr Martin Purvis

Contact details

School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 (0) 113 34 36751

Student hours:

Research overview

Although Martin’s research and publications span a range of fields including attention to contemporary environmental issues, his most enduring research interests are in historical and political geography. Recent work has included exploration of aspects of the political geography of central Europe, focusing in particular on the region of the upper Adriatic around the city of Trieste where Italy borders upon Slovenia and the broader realm of the Yugoslav successor states. Martin’s interest in this area derives originally from joint leadership of a former undergraduate student fieldtrip based in Trieste, thus forging an important link between research and teaching.

Currently Martin is working on a project that reflects his long-standing interests in the historical evolution of retailing and consumption. The focus of this latest initiative is on retail developments in interwar Britain. Key themes include the expansion of new forms of large-scale retailing and what now appears a worryingly prescient interest in the impact of economic downturn upon retail fortunes.

PhD supervision

I welcome PhD applications in the following areas:

  • Historical geography – particularly the development of the modern city in Britain and continental Europe, to geographies of retailing and consumption (the Marks & Spencer archive in Leeds offers rich research opportunities), and to the development of popular associations
  • Political geography – with particular reference to Europe from the 19th century onwards



  • Purvis, M. (2001) 'The British Co-operative Movement and the Possibilities of Empire': Producing for Consumers and Producing for Development', Eleventh International Conference of Historical Geographers, Universite Laval, Quebec
  • Purvis, A., Drake, F. and Purvis, M. (2001) 'The Politics of Climate Change Research', Twelfth Global Warming Conference, Cambridge University
  • Purvis, M. (1999) 'Where did it all go wrong?: Co-operative Retailing in Inter-War Britain', Conference on Retailers and consumers in Historical Perspective, University of  Wolverhampton.
  • Purvis, M. (1998) ‘Consumers’ co-operation and an empire of goods’, Tenth International Conference of Historical Geographers, Belfast.
  • Purvis, M. (1998) ‘Contesting urban space: co-operative and private retailers in Britain from the 1860s to the 1920s’, Symposium in Retail History, Manchester
  • Purvis, M., Drake, F. & Hunt, J. (1998) ‘Business networks and environmental innovations’, ESRC Business and Environment Workshop, Leeds
  • Hunt, J., Purvis, M. & Drake, F. (1997) ‘Business understandings of the environment’, Business Strategy and the Environment Conference, Leeds.
  • Hunt, J., Purvis, M. & Drake, F. (1997) ‘Transforming uncertainty: refrigeration technology in the 1990s’, Uncertainty, Knowledge and Skill Conference, Limbourg
  • Purvis, M., Hunt, J. & Drake, F. (1997) ‘Diffusing environmental innovations: expertise and the refrigeration industry’ Second Open Meeting of the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Community, Vienna.



  • March 1998 ESRC Business and Environment Network Workshop