The Strand Group
Directed by Dr Jon Davis, the Strand Group explores how power operates at the very centre of government. Its research and activities examines the operation and history of No. 10 Downing Street, the Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the intelligence services. All are covered by the group's events, which perform an important public engagement function for King's College London. The events are underpinned by extensive and innovative teaching and research on ultra-contemporary issues. Each strand of the Group’s work informs the other to create a virtuous circle.
The Strand Group's events bring together figures from the worlds of government, business, journalism and academia in a forum to discuss the most pertinent issues of the day. Using the recent past to shed light on contemporary challenges and enhance institutional memory the Strand Group covers a range of topics including the economy, defence and intelligence, foreign affairs, the public sector and the machinery of government. Past speakers include former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Dame Margaret Hodge, former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. These events have taken place in No. 10 Downing Street, HM Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence, the British Academy and at King’s College London. Reviews of the events programme for 2015 and 2016 can be found here and here.
Dr Davis teaches four postgraduate courses centred on key aspects of the Strand Group’s work. ‘No. 10 Downing Street & the History of the Prime Minister since 1945’ (Parts I & II) is run in partnership with No. 10 Downing Street. ‘The Blair Years’ is co-taught with John Rentoul, Chief Political Commentator for The Independent, and visiting professor at King's College, London. ‘The Treasury and Economic History Since 1945’ is run in partnership with HM Treasury, and sees serving officials take the class alongside King’s students, including two Hewlett Packard Enterprise-sponsored ‘MA Apprentices’ who contribute to the Strand Group’s organisation. These modules bring together past and present practitioners such as Sir Jeremy Heywood, Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court, Baroness Vadera, Sir David Omand and many others to blend the theory and practicality of working at the centre of government.
Sponsorship allows the Strand Group’s ‘PhD Apprentices’ to research key areas in ultra-contemporary British history. Current PhD topics include a history of financial sector cyber security, the development of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit and HM Treasury under Alistair Darling 2007-10. Not only are the Strand Group’s PhD students researching subjects of huge interest to government and business but they are also bringing unparalleled networks together. One of these ‘PhD Apprentices’, currently writing up his thesis of the history of Canary Wharf, has become the first ever Researcher in Residence in No. 10 Downing Street in a unique partnership between HPE, King’s College London’s Widening Participation Department, the Brilliant Club and the Policy Institute at King’s; examining ‘The Geography of Power’ in No.10. Past research projects include Margaret Thatcher and the History of No .10 Downing Street, a research collaboration with No. 10 Downing Street which developed a website to house a series of filmed interviews with key protagonists from the Thatcher government, and ‘Men of Secrets: The Cabinet Secretaries’, a series of interviews Cabinet Secretaries past and present speak about life at the centre.
A group of Visiting Professors contribute to the teaching, research and events of the Strand Group. These include: John Rentoul, The Independent’s chief political commentator; Sir Iain Lobban, former Director of GCHQ; Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor; Sir Kevin Tebbit, the former Director of GCHQ and Permanent Under Secretary of State for Defence; Lord Macpherson, Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury 2005 – 2016; William Keegan, The Observer’s senior economics commentator; Alun Evans, Chief Executive of the British Academy; Sir Dave Ramsden, Chief Economic Adviser to HM Treasury; Baroness Jay, former Health Spokesman, Minister for Women and Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Adonis the Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission.
Who we are
Dr Jon Davis - Director
Martin Stolliday - Manager
Dr Jon Davis is Director of Partnerships and the Strand Group at the Policy Institute
Michelle Clement - Events Manager
After studying for a Masters degree in British Contemporary History, Martin joined the media monitoring team in the Labour Party where he worked for 5 years, including two election campaigns.
As Partnerships Manager, Martin’s role is to deal with the day-to-day running of the Strand Group - the Policy Institute at King’s signature seminar series which brings together academia, government, politics, media and business in monthly events and assist the Policy Institute with its relations with external partners.
Ashley Sweetman - Tech Coordinator
Michelle Clement is the Events Coordinator for the Strand Group. Michelle begins a PhD, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard, on the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, 2001-05, in January 2015.
Jack Brown - Communications Coordinator
Ashley Sweetman is the Technology Coordinator for the Strand Group. He gained his MA in Modern and Contemporary British History from Queen Mary, University of London in 2013, which was sponsored by Hewlett-Packard. Ashley has recently worked for BP in Government Affairs and for the Sunday Times.
Eleanor Hallam - HM Treasury Partnership Coordinator
Jack Brown is the first ever Researcher in Residence at Number 10 Downing Street, in partnership with the Policy Institute at King's, the charitable organisation the Brilliant Club, King's Widening Participation Department and HPE. He is also Research Assistant to the King's Commission on London, and is undertaking a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London, on the redevelopment of London’s Docklands and the emergence of Canary Wharf in the 1980s.
Eleanor Hallam is the HM Treasury Partnership Coordinator for the Strand Group, and Researcher for King’s Visiting Professor Ed Balls. Eleanor is also completing a PhD on Her Majesty's Treasury under the Chancellorship of Alistair Darling, how the institution managed the near collapse of the British banking system, the wider financial crisis, and its impact on economic policy between 2007 and 2010.
To contact the Strand Group please email email@example.com