Patient voices in Britain, 1840-1948

Edited by Anne Hanley and Jessica Meyer

Patient voices in Britain, 1840-1948


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5487-3
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: September 2021
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Social History, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / Victorian Era (1837-1901), Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Medicine / History of medicine, History, Modern History, History of Medicine, History of medicine
  • Series: Social Histories of Medicine


Historians have long engaged with Roy Porter's call for histories that incorporate patients' voices and experiences. But despite concerted methodological efforts, there has simply not been the degree and breadth of innovation that Porter envisaged. Patients' voices still often remain obscured. This has resulted in part from assumptions about the limitations of archives, many of which are formed of institutional records written from the perspective of health professionals. Patient voices in Britain repositions patient experiences at the centre of healthcare history, using new types of sources and reading familiar sources in new ways. Focusing on military medicine, Poor Law medicine, disability, psychiatry and sexual health, this collection encourages historians to tackle the ethical challenges of using archival material and to think more carefully about how their work might speak to persistent health inequalities and challenges in health-service delivery.

The following two chapters are available open access on a CC-BY-NC-ND license:

1 The non-patient's view - Michael Worboys

2 Family not to be informed? The ethical use of historical medical documentation - Jessica Meyer and Alexia Moncrieff


Introduction: searching for the patient - Anne Hanley and Jessica Meyer
Part I: Locating the patient: new approaches
1 The non-patient's view - Michael Worboys
2 Family not to be informed? The ethical use of historical medical documentation - Jessica Meyer and Alexia Moncrieff
Part II: Voices from the institution
3 Lunatics' rights activism in Britain and the German Empire, 1870-1920: a European perspective - Burkhart Brückner
4 Narrating and navigating patient experiences of farm work in English psychiatric institutions, 1845-1914 - Sarah Holland
5 The patient's view as history from below: evidence from the Victorian poor, 1834-71 - Paul Carter and Steve King
Part III: User-driven medicine
6 Respiratory technologies and the co-production of breathing in the twentieth century - Coreen McGuire, Jaipreet Virdi and Jenny Hutton
7 The patient's new clothes: British soldiers as complementary practitioners in the First World War - Georgia McWhinney
Part IV: Negotiating stigma and shame
8 'Dear Dr Kirkpatrick': recovering Irish experiences of VD, 1924-47 - Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston
9 'I caught it and yours truly was very sorry for himself': mapping the emotional worlds of British VD patients - Anne Hanley


Anne Hanley is a Lecturer in History of Science and Medicine at Birkbeck, University of London

Jessica Meyer is Associate Professor of Modern British History at the University of Leeds

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