I am a social and cultural historian of health in Britain since 1800, with interests in demography, the family, quantitative methods and oral history. After a First in Modern History at Oxford, I spent twenty years in the British civil service and on secondment to the European Commission, working on public health, health system reform, regulation of the health professions and the financing of the National Health Service. My PhD in History was awarded by the University of Leeds in 2010 for a thesis on the cultural factors affecting the decline in working-class fertility in late nineteenth-century Britain: I have a contract for a book on this for Boydell and Brewer’s ‘People, Markets, Goods: Economies and Societies in History’ series. I have recently had a major article on rural infant mortality in the nineteenth century published by the Economic History Review, and have also published in journals including Health and Place, Historical Methods and Local Population Studies, as well as the Institute for Historical Research's Reviews in History .
My current research direction is the recent history of England’s National Health Service, specifically health services research in the 21st century. From 1 February 2017 I have been based at the University of Liverpool in the Department of Public Health and Policy (Institute of Psychology, Health and Society). This work sets out to influence future health research policy by helping policy makers understand ‘how we got here’. My work has led Universities UK to convene a health research policy seminar in May 2018 at which I will present findings and contribute to discussion with policy makers about the relevance of history to future policy directions.
I maintain an interest in the historical development of health inequalities in Britain, and in the history and efficacy of measures to reduce them.