You are here

  1. Home
  2. Dr Robin Mackie

Dr Robin Mackie

Robin Mackie photo

Profile summary

Professional biography

I studied at Edinburgh University, completing a PhD on business in twentieth-century Scotland in 1995. I started working for the Open University in 1993, first as an Associate Lecturer and later as a Research Fellow. I was then a Staff Tutor from 2002 to 2023, based first in the OU’s Nottingham office and later in the Scottish office in Edinburgh.

During my time in the History Department, I contributed to many modules including A111, Discovering the Arts and Humanities, A113, Revolutions, A225, The British Isles and the Modern World, 1789-1914, and, most recently, the new MA in History, where I contributed a block on environmental history, and the forthcoming module, A328, Empires: Power, Resistance, Legacies.

Research interests

My research interests are in nineteenth and twentieth century British economic and social history. I’ve worked in two areas, firstly on the social history of chemistry and the relations between education, science, and industry, and, secondly on Scottish business history and, in particular, on the links between family and firms. During lockdown I started on a new project on landholding, wealth, and succession in the Scottish Borders.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Biographical Methodologies Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Arts
British and Irish History GroupGroupFaculty of Arts


Succession and inheritance in Scottish business families, c.1875-1935 (2022)
Mackie, Robin
Business History, 64(1) (pp. 55-74)

[Book review] Müller (ed.), Scotland and Arbroath 1320–2020. 700 years of Fighting for Freedom, Sovereignty, and Independence (2021-03)
Mackie, Robin
The Scottish Historical Review, 100(1) (pp. 152-155)

Consultancy as a Career in Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Britain (2020)
Mackie, Robin and Roberts, Gerrylynn
Ambix, 67(3) (pp. 214-233)

Bearing ‘the burden and heat of the day’: the experience of business failure in Douglas and Grant Ltd (2012-08)
Mackie, Robin
Business History, 54(5) (pp. 689-712)

Counting chemists: the distribution of chemical expertise in Scotland in the first half of the twentieth century (2007-07)
Mackie, Robin
Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 27(1) (pp. 48-74)

Family ownership and business survival: Kirkcaldy, 1870-1970 (2001-07-01)
Mackie, R.
Business History, 43(3) (pp. 1-32)

'Best for the family': researching families and business (2001-05)
Mackie, Robin
Family and Community History, 4(1) (pp. 31-44)

'But What is a Chemical Engineer?': Profiling the Membership of the British Institution of Chemical Engineers, 1922-1956 (2000-06)
Mackie, Robin
Minerva, XXXVIII(2) (pp. 171-199)

Industry in Kirkcaldy: Mapping the Structure of Business in Twentieth-Century Scotland (1998)
Mackie, R. L.
Scottish Economic and Social History, 18(1) (pp. 61-84)

Chemical Careers in Postwar Britain: Centrifugal Discipline / Centripetal Profession? (2008-12)
Mackie, Robin and Roberts, Gerrylynn
In: Bertomeu-Sánchez, José Ramón; Burns, Duncan Thorburn and Van Tiggelen, Brigitte eds. Neighbours and Territories: The Evolving Identity of Chemistry (pp. 565-573)
ISBN : 978-2-9600815-0-3 | Publisher : Mémosciences asbl | Published : Louvain-la-neuve, Belgium

'To provide for the settlement of my affairs': inheritance and ownership in family firms during the transition to limited liability (2008-01)
Mackie, Robin
In: Fellman, Susanna; Vaara, Eero and Kuusterèa, Antti eds. Historical Perspectives on Corporate Governance: Reflections on Ownership Participation and Different Modes of Organizing. Commentationes Scientiarum Socialium (72) (pp. 157-171)
ISBN : 9789516533653 | Publisher : Finnish Society of Science and Letters | Published : Helsinki, Finland

Chemical societies and the demarcation of the British chemical community, 1870-1914 (2008)
Mackie, Robin
In: Kildebaek Nielsen, A and Strbanova, S eds. Creating Networks in Chemistry. The Founding and Early History of Chemical Societies in Europe (pp. 140-161)
ISBN : 0-85404-279-2 | Publisher : Royal Society of Chemistry | Published : Cambridge

Career patterns in the British chemical profession in the twentieth century (2004-07)
Mackie, Robin and Roberts, Gerrylynn K.
In: Mitch, David; Brown, John and Van Leeuwen, Marco H. D. eds. Origins of the modern career (pp. 317-336)
ISBN : 754634965 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot, UK

La professionalizzazione della chimica (2003)
Mackie, Robin and Roberts, Gerrylynn
In: Petruccioli, Sandro ed. La Scienza dell '800. Storia della Scienza (sez E) (pp. 520-526)
Publisher : Istituto dell Enciclopedia Italiana fondata da Giovanni Treccani | Published : Rome, Italy

The Educational paths and career choices of chemists in Britain, 1918-1943 (2002)
Mackie, Robin
In: Despy-Meyer, A ed. Institutions and Societies for Teaching, Research and Popularisation: Proceedings of the XXth International Congress of History of Science (Liège, 20-26 July 1997) Vol. XIX (pp. 125-134)
ISBN : 9782503514130 | Publisher : Brepols | Published : Turnhout, Belgium

Un secteur à part? Les chimistes industriels et la Society of Chemical Industry dans le contexte de la communauté chimique britannique (2001-05)
Mackie, Robin and Roberts, Gerrylynn K.
In: Fell, Ulrike ed. Chimie et Industrie en Europe: L’apport des sociétés savantes industrielles du XIXe siècle à nos jours (pp. 127-147)
ISBN : 2914610025 | Publisher : Editions des archives contemporaines | Published : Paris, France

Biographical Database of the British Chemical Community, 1880-1970. 2nd edition (2006)
Mackie, Robin L. and Roberts, Gerrylynn K.
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.