Miss Olivia Robinson

DPhil (doctoral) student, Faculty of History & Kellogg College


Olivia Robinson is a doctoral student in the Faculty of History at Oxford. With a background in Chinese and labour rights, her current research focuses on the history of foreign female domestic workers in London, establishing motives, strategies and experiences of the overseas women drawn to a life of drudgery in British homes in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Why did these women come to Britain? How did they experience life in and out of service? What did they lose or gain? And what does their presence here tell us about the early international context of female economic migration?

She also works as a genealogist for the College of Arms and runs a family history research service, Ancestories.


  • Domestic servants in Britain
  • Immigrants in 19th/early 20th century Britain, especially single women
  • Women's work in 19th/early 20th century Britain
  • Working class leisure and housing in 19th century Britain (especially Oxford)
  • Family history / genealogy
  • Urban social history

Media experience

Olivia is a regular contributor to the TV series Who Do You Think You Are?, both in the UK and abroad. She also has radio experience.


English, French