Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Birmingham
Website URL
British history, eighteenth century, nineteenth century, twentieth century, history of psychiatry, history of asylums and 'epileptic colonies', history of mental health and illness, history of medicine, Quaker history, First World War medicine, the Friends' Ambulance Unit, history of burns injuries, history of complaining and whistleblowing in medicine, conscientious objection, prison history.
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of medicine, with expertise in the history of psychiatry and mental health, and the Friends’ Ambulance Unit and Quakers during the First World War. I work predominantly on the long-nineteenth and the twentieth centuries.

I am currently Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the AHRC-funded project, ‘Forged by Fire: Burns Injury and Identity in Britain, c.1800-2000′ at the University of Birmingham. Prior to that I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in 2012, going on to undertake research there and co-curate my first major exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. I was then Postdoctoral Project Officer for ‘Quakers & the First World War: Lives & Legacies’, a co-production project with Central England Quakers and the University of Birmingham’s School of Education. In between I was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, and held research and fellowship roles at Worcestershire World War 100, and the University of Manchester.

My work broadly considers two main themes: medicine, reform, and conscience; and how medicine and science have been communicated and understood.

The core areas of my research career are:

  • asylums, psychiatry and mental health
  • neurosurgery, phantom limbs, epilepsy and learning disability
  • complaints, whistleblowers and patient activism
  • medical volunteering and humanitarianism, particularly during 1914-1919
  • unintended injuries, fire disasters, and coroners
  • and the criminal justice system (especially quarter and petty sessions, and prisons)

Find out more about me and my work here and here.

Recent Publications


2020 A Quaker Conscientious Objector: The prison letters of Wilfrid Littleboy, 1917-1919, edited and introduction with Pink Dandelion (Bath: Handheld Press).

2014 Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine: Historical and Social Science Perspectives, edited and introduction with Jonathan Reinarz (London: Routledge).

Journal Articles

2017 ‘Historical contexts to communicating mental health’ (with Leonard Smith), in Rebecca Wynter and Leonard Smith (eds), ‘Communicating Mental Health’, Medical Humanities, 43 (2), 73-80.

2016 ‘Conscription, Conscience and Controversy: the Friends’ Ambulance Unit and the ‘Middle Course’ in the First World War’, in Pink Dandelion and Rebecca Wynter (eds), ‘Quaker Responses to the First World War’, Quaker Studies, 21 (2), 213-33.

2015 ‘Pictures of Peter Pan: Institutions, Local Definitions of ‘Mental Deficiency’, and the Filtering of Children in Early Twentieth-Century England’, Family and Community History, 18 (2), 122-38.

2011 ‘‘Good in all respects’: appearance and dress at Staffordshire County Lunatic Asylum, 1818-1854’, History of Psychiatry, 22 (1), 40-57.


2015 ‘“Horrible Dens of Deception”: Thomas Bakewell, Thomas Mulock and Anti-Asylum Sentiments, c.1815–1858′, in Tom Knowles and Serena Trowbridge (eds), Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century (London: Pickering & Chatto), 11-28.

2014 ‘The Spirit of Medicine: The use of alcohol in nineteenth-century medical practice’ (with Jonathan Reinarz), in Susanne Schmid and Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp (eds), Drink in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Consumers, Cross-Currents, Conviviality (London: Pickering & Chatto), 121-41

Special Issues

2017 ‘Communicating Mental Health’, Medical Humanities, 43 (2), edited with Leonard Smith.

2016 ‘Quaker Responses to the First World War’, Quaker Studies, 21 (2), edited with Pink Dandelion.

Media Coverage
Lead historian: 'World War I at Home: The Cadbury Brothers at War' (2014). Aired on: BBC1 Midlands, BBC2, and BBC4. Historian for the Friends' Ambulance Unit segments, 'Behind the Lines: A Great War Nurse and the Fight for Survival', view on YouTube.
Country Focus
United Kingdom
Expertise by Geography
British Isles, England, United Kingdom, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Disability, Local & Regional, Material Culture, Medicine, Military, Religion, Science, Urban History, Women, World War I, World War II