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This one-day workshop seeks to bring together researchers with an interest in the history and representations of healthcare, medicine, nursing, hospitals, and public health in the UK between 1800 and 1948, with a particular focus on local and regional histories.
Over the course of the nineteenth century, healthcare became increasingly organised, centralised and professionalised, paving the way for the reforms of the twentieth century leading to a national healthcare system. But this process was piecemeal and haphazard, often dependent on local and even individual initiatives. Hospitals were funded by local subscriptions; reforms such as the introduction of professional nurses, district nursing, and improvements to workhouse infirmaries occurred on a local basis, and spread only gradually.
As a result, the experiences of patients, nurses, doctors and other care practitioners differed significantly according to geographical location, as well as by class, wealth, and gender. This workshop seeks to highlight these local and regional differences and experiences in order to build up a more textured, nuanced picture of the development of healthcare in the industrial age.
This workshop is the first of a series to be held arising from the AHRC-funded project ‘Florence Nightingale Comes Home for 2020’, which examines the influence of Nightingale’s upbringing in the Midlands on her work and ideas. This first workshop invites contributions from a wide range of scholars in order to develop insights into broader histories of health and care in a regional perspective.