My main current interest lies with the development of a study of child protection. As well as being a topic of intrinsic importance it offers rich and vivid opportunities for someone concerned with the interactions between health and welfare issues and the realm of politics and policy. It is an opportunity to write a history which could usefully illuminate the development of professional education, inter professional relationships, the changing role of voluntary groups, and the constantly shifting relationships, between politicians, the public, the media and health and welfare professionals, for child protection issues have proved one of the most powerful drivers of change in all of these areas. It is significant that concerns for child protection have recently led policy makers to link it with broader public health concerns and to require the active engagement of all social and health professionals.
The project began and continues on the basis of collaboration between myself and Chris Robinson of the Social Work Inspection Agency, Scottish Government. Our interest is both academic and policy oriented and is based on a shared dissatisfaction with existing academic studies and the overly narrow focus of the official inquiries into the many high profile cases of recent decades. The history we are currently writing aims to capture the development of child welfare issues in Scotland from the late nineteenth century until the present.
This project investigates the relationships forged between the imperial and colonial state, West Africans and private and commercial interests in British West Africa c.1865-1965. It places the interaction between cultural and economic processes in the same analytical frame, and assesses their impact on the formation and execution of public health policy in the region. It will ask what changes in public health policy in West Africa can tell us about the changing nature of the British World during this period. And what can a history of public health in British West Africa tell us about modern day concepts of expertise, development and processes of globalisation.
The primary aim of this project is to understand the interplay and impact of culture and economics on the language and practical outcomes of public health policy in British West Africa, c. 1865-1965. It also attempts to place British West Africa within a global context. While it will primarily investigate the successes and failures of public health policy in British West Africa, it will interpret them in relation to the rise of global uniformity and interconnectedness during this period. An analysis of public health policy is ideal in this respect because it speaks not only to larger global economic and political changes, but also to the more difficult realms of culture, ideology and bodily practices. Overall, by drawing the local and the global together, this project will hopefully shed light on the changing nature of Britain’s World system, and its evolving ambitions throughout the period under study, enriching not only the history of medicine and imperial and colonial history, but world history as well.
An integrated analysis of policy-making and the importance of economic factors in colonial contexts are by no means exceptional, but it has become increasingly rare, the tendency being to eschew the more problematic areas of implementation and ‘response’ and to concentrate on rhetoric and cultures of colonialism. The project hopes to remedy this by placing both culture and economics in the same analytical framework. One particularly novel feature will be the attention given to commercial factors, which appear to have played a disproportionately important part in the development of colonial health policy in this region. When investigating the formation of public health policy in West Africa historians have typically focused on polices of ‘constructive imperialism’ emanating from Joseph Chamberlain and the Unionists. The City, however, is traditionally distanced from interests in West Africa. An exciting facet of the project is to question this assumption by investigating the intricate economic and cultural networks that linked the City with the majority of traders and merchants holding interests in West Africa.
Overall, the proposed research is concerned with understanding problems affecting modern day policies and programmes of public health in West Africa and the rest of the global south. How might modern day problems of health care implementation and delivery be rooted in the colonial past? And how can a study of public health in British West Africa help us to ameliorate these problems?
During the early years of the twentieth century, maternal mortality was rising in Britain, with Scotland having the highest rates in the United Kingdom. After World War I, the government was determined to tackle this and other health problems. The healthcare matrix included provision by churches and employers. In Scotland, the Church of Scotland, or Kirk, provided various healthcare services. It was the first Protestant sect to open a hospital in Britain in 1894 - the Deaconess Hospital in Edinburgh. In the West of Scotland, from the early twentieth century, the Kirk’s social mission increasingly targeted young women’s health and welfare. They introduced a layered strategy, which included training homes, preventive homes, rescue homes and mother and baby homes in poor neighbourhoods to try and improve morality and to provide basic healthcare for expectant mothers. In some communities, such as Paisley, the church’s healthcare efforts ran alongside those of the local employers. Yet, despite the centrality of these services in the communities that they served, the extent and nature of their healthcare provision has received little historical attention. This is a surprising void considering the centrality of the Kirk in many Scottish communities.
This project aims to examine the nature and extent of the Kirk and employers’ healthcare provision in industrial communities, with a particular focus on maternal health. The social and cultural impact of the Kirk and its assumptions about class and behaviour in relation to the healthcare provided remains to be seen. Likewise, women’s responses to both the Kirk’s and their employers’ healthcare is unclear. While the Kirk publicized that it had widespread community support for its services, was this really the case? And, why did the women accept or use these services or those provided by their employers? My previous research into employers’ healthcare provision in America found that women often utilized it as a last resort, rather than as a first choice for care, despite the high quality of care offered in many cases. Will this prove the same in Britain? More broadly, an analytical and historical perspective of the role of different religions and employers in providing healthcare and their influence on both families and policy formation would enrich our understanding of women’s healthcare choices and decision-making.
This project analyses the history of the British child guidance movement from its origins in the 1920s down to the mid-1950s, by which point it was embedded in the welfare state. It was thus, in principle at least, an increasingly important component of child welfare and mental health services. Even prior to 1914, developments in
the social and medical sciences began to question, implicitly and explicitly, the validity of focusing on the child as a purely physical entity. Equally, in the latter part of the nineteenth century Western psychiatry began to shift from a discipline concerned with the maintenance of asylum patients to one concerned primarily with the therapeutic treatment of individuals experiencing varying degrees of psychological and emotional distress.
The research questions are:
Scotland lost approximately 74 000 men in the Great War but over 167 000 came back to Scotland from the war wounded. The extent of the injuries and disease suffered was great and the effect was both physical and emotional on the individual and society.
Scotland contributed to the war as a British counterpart and therefore the country and its people have been referred to (sparsely) in the British histories of the Great War. As Scottish history is a relatively new historiography the interwar period is seemingly limited with literature on the effects of the war on Scottish culture and people. Disabled veterans is a neglected and forgotten figure in scholarly work and therefore this study draws these two historical gaps together to investigate how attitudes changed towards disabled veterans in interwar Scotland.
My full time doctoral research, will firstly track the journey of the physically wounded soldier from the field to the rehabilitation hospitals in Scotland to understand where the British journey ended and the Scottish experience began during the war. However the crux of my research will investigate the interwar attitudes towards disabled veterans from different classes and geographical locations in Scotland as well as the changing opinions from within this disjointed group.
a) Imperialism and Impurity: The regulation of the purity of drugs and medicines in colonial India, c. 1790 to c. 1947 (Patricia Barton):
The stages by which food and drugs regulations developed in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain is well charted, but the process of establishing and policing standards in the country’s colonies remains obscure. The topic is significant in British India as the administration’s finances drew heavily on the trade in intoxicants, and its prestige often rested on medical projects that could be undermined by the use of adulterated medicines.
b) Dangerous Drugs and Medical Markets in Colonial Contexts (James Mills):
While the story of Britain’s export of opium to China is well known, the strategies of colonial administrations in governing intoxicants within their own jurisdictions has largely been ignored. The project explores the boundary between state and society and intoxication and medication in colonized societies in Asia and the Caribbean between c. 1800 and Independence.
The partnership between CSHHH members and the Official Publications team at the National Library of Scotland has been awarded a three year doctoral studentship by the AHRC for the project 'The Civil Veterinary Departments of British India 1876-1947: Science, medicine, power and nature in a colonial context'. This builds on the success of the partnership in attracting two Wellcome Trust Resource Enhancement Awards to develop the Medical History of British India primary sources web interface http://www.nls.uk/indiapapers/index.html .
Luke was awarded a Wellcome Trust PhD studentship as part of the Centre’s Enhancement Award and below he provides a flavour of his thesis:
In 1924, AA Waugh, the Officiating Excise Officer for the United Provinces (UP), compared the British attempt to control abkari (intoxicants):
‘...to the familiar fable of the malignant genius who was confined in a bottle. He was likely to escape and overpower his captor if pressure on the bottle was not maintained. But an attempt to finish him off by sudden, intensive pressure would have been likely to result in his escape by the bursting of the bottle rather than his extinction’.
The colonial administration attempted to exercise monopoly control over the production, distribution and consumption of country spirit, European liquor, tari, sendhi, cannabis and opium. They also sought to crack down on the circulation of cocaine in the province. This was the era of the emergence of legal framework for international drugs control, codified in conventions such as the Geneva Opium Convention (1925). The focus was primarily on controlling the production and international distribution of narcotics. As RJS Dodd, Inspector-General of the UP police put it: ‘We know that efforts are being made by the League of Nations to stop the importation of this wretched drug [cocaine]; but meanwhile it is our duty to get sent to jail all those who make large sums of money from the traffic’.
This project compares experiences and understandings of food allergy in North American and Britain and is funded by a Wellcome Trust fellowship. Although food allergy is now the subject of intense medical research, lobbying and legislation, it was considered ‘witchcraft, a fad, or a racket’ for much of the twentieth century, and an area of clinical practice that was certain to discredit those who researched and treated it. The aim of this project is to examine how food allergy was transformed from a marginalised, ridiculed subject to a medical phenomenon which has changed the way in which food is processed, marketed and consumed.
Matt received a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009-2012 to fund this project.
I am currently working on a monograph which explores the discussions that took place amongst health care professionals, patients and voluntary groups from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. This analysis reveals how attempts to destigmatise incipient mental distress and increase the prestige of psychiatry were achieved in part by reinforcing the stigma of asylums and chronic mental illness. I am developing this research by focussing on the ways in which enduring mental health conditions have been perceived and treated by medical practitioners in postwar Britain. This research, which encompasses treatment methods, psyhiatric rehabilitation and the use of industrial work as a therapeutic agent, points to a certain fluidity in the ways in which models of health, illness and disability - and the linked notions of care, cure and treatment – have been conceptualised.
This programme of research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and co-directed by Professor Anne Borsay and Dr David Turner at Swansea University, uses the coal industry to explore how understandings and experiences of disability were affected by industrialization between 1780 and the end of the Second World War. Vicky is collaborating with Professor Don MacRaild and Victoria Brown at Northumbria University in a study of the coalfields of north east England. Arthur and Angela are working on the Scottish coalfields at Strathclyde University.