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Professor Julio Tascón-Fernández from University of Oviedo is a Unit visitor from May 2013. As Franklin Institute-University of Alcalá Researcher and Collaborator (PR) he is working on competitive business in both sides of the Atlantic Ocean: US and Spain, 1953-2013, its main project. He is very keen on US FDI broadly scattered all over the Southern European countries, especially concerning PIGS, and on the role played by State institutions in supporting abroad best profitability for affiliates having a US parent company.  He is currently carrying out research for a database about firms in southern Europe.


Professor José Ortiz-Villajos from Complutense University is a Unit visitor. He is working on the determinants of entrepreneurship in historical perspective, with particular reference to Spain and the UK. The project involves the construction of a database of entrepreneurs, isolating indicators of success, and variables imputed to contribute to success.

Professor Shigehiro Nishimura form Kansai University is a visitor in the Unit. He will be with us until September 2012. Shigehiro is researching the evolution of corporate patent management in Japan, Europe and the United States. He has contributed a paper to the Economic History Department’s occasional paper series: 

  • Nº 168: The rise of the patent department: A case study of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company





New Project

Terry Gourvish has been commissioned to write a history of Dolphin Square for the Dolphin Square Trust. Dolphin Square is an iconic building project. Reputed to be the largest single block of flats in Europe, it was constructed by Costain in 1936-8.

Publication is scheduled for 2013.




New publication: Reappraising State-Owned Enterprise

Routledge has just published Reappraising State-Owned Enterprise: A Comparison of the UK and Italy, edited by Franco Amatori, Robert Millward and Pier Angelo Toninelli.

Terry Gourvish has written Chapter 6, 'The financing of a Large Infrastrucure Project: The Case of the Channel Tunnel.'

Popular Music Workshop on 'The Global Popular Music Business - National Historical Perspectives'

The Unit held a popular music workshop at the LSE on 28 October 2010. The speakers were: Richard Coopey (LSE), Simon Frith (Edinburgh), Dave Allen (Portsmouth), Marcus Collins (Loughborough), Alan McKinlay (St. Andrew's), Anna Dempster (Birkbeck), and Peter Miskell (Reading). Further information is available from Richard Coopey.

BHU travels in Cairo, May 2010

The Unit organised a special session on Anglo-Egyptian business history at the American University in Cairo in May. The session was part of the Economic and Business History Research Center's Annual Forum. Terry Gourvish spoke on 'Anglo-Egyptian business history: retrospect and prospect', and the other speakers in the session were Kevin Tennent (British investment companies in Egypt), Dilwyn Porter (Suez Crisis and the Press) and Peter Lyth (Tourism).

Terry Gourvish's Report on The High Speed Rail Revolution

The Department of Transport has published Terry Gourvish's report on The High Speed Rail Revolution: History and Prospects. The report was commissioned by High Speed Two Ltd as part of its submission to the Government in 2009. High Speed Two Ltd's submission, entitled High Speed Rail London to the West Midlands and Beyond, was published, together with the Department's White Paper, High Speed Rail, in March 2010.


Kevin Tennent has left the Unit to take up the post of Lecturer in Strategy at the Open University Business School. He will retain his connection with the Unit as a Visitor.

New Paper

  • Diane Dammers and Hendrik Fischer, The performance of German Big Business in the 20th Century, Cologne Economic History paper, No.1 (2009).
    A key paper emerging from work undertaken by the European business performance project, in which the BHU played an important part.

Current Projects

Our current ESRC Project, 'Enterprise and Creativity: The British Popular Music Industry 1950-75' [ref. RES-062-23-1100] is reaching a mature stage.

The following papers have been written

Richard Coopey

  • 'You Say You Want a Revolution': The British Popular Music Industry 1950-1975
  • Chandlerian Firms in a Hyper-Schumpetarian Environment: Enterprise in the Popular Music Industry in Britain
  • 'La, la, la, la, Liverpool': Enterprise, Culture and the City in the Pop Industry During the 1960s

 Richard Coopey, Terry Gourvish:

  • 'Divided by a Common Sound': markets and connexions in the British and US popular music industries, 1950-75
  • Controlling Fashion: Enterprise and the Popular Music Business in Britain 1950-1980

Terry Gourvish, Kevin Tennent:

  • Peterson and Berger revisited: Changing market dominance in the British popular music industry, c.1950-80, Business History, 52:2 (April 2010), 187-206

Terry Gourvish:

  • The British Popular Music Industry, 1950-75: archival challenges and solutions, Business Archives, 99 (November 2009), 25-39
  • Entrepreneurship and changing market dominance in the British Popular Music Industry, 1950-80

The following people have been interviewed:

  • Joe Boyd, independent producer
  • Paul Wallace, Sanctuary
  • Martin Mills, Beggars Banquet
  • Pete Waterman, PW Ltd
  • Geoff Travis, Rough Trade records
  • Kenny Lynch, singer
  • Jon Kutner, chart compiler
  • Eric Nicoli, EMI
  • Jonathan King, UK Records
  • Terri Anderson, Music Week, BPI, PRS
  • Alison Wenham, AIM
  • Jon Webster, Virgin, MMF
  • Gail Colson, Charisma, Gailforce
  • Wayne Bickerton, Polydor
  • David Enthoven and Tim Clark, ie:music
  • Peter Jenner, Blackhill

News from 2009

BHU 30th Birthday, 2009

The Unit celebrated 30 years of research work in February 2009. At a lunch attended by the past director, Leslie Hannah, and the present director, Terry Gourvish, the toast was for a continuing contribution to the study of business in its historical context. 

Research Officer

Kevin Tennent has been appointed as Research Officer to the ESRC-supported project on 'Enterprise and Creativity: The British Popular Music Industry 1950-1975'. Mr Tennent is supporting the research work of Dr Terry Gourvish and Dr Richard Coopey.

Occasional Paper

The BHU's latest occasional paper is part of the research effort for the Leverhulme-supported project on 'The Performance of European Business in the Twentieth Century' . The title is Finnish Big Business in the 20th Century: Performance, Structure and Top Management, and the authors are Andrea Lorenz-Wende and Janne Itkonen. It is available from the Unit priced at £10.