Two Wellcome funded PhD studentships available on the Addressing Health project (King's College London and Kingston University)

Laura Newman Discussion

Addressing Health: Morbidity, Mortality and Occupational Health in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office

This a three year research project funded by the Wellcome and focusses on understanding the health outcomes of workers in service sector employments in nineteenth and early-twentieth century Britain. The project involves collaboration between King’s College London, Kingston University, University of Derby and UCL.

There are two fully funded PhD positions attached to this research project. Details of the studentships are set out below. The closing date for both studentships is 16 March 2020 For further information please contact the named supervisors below.


Occupational health and welfare in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office: comparative perspectives (King’s College London)

This PhD focusses specifically on developing a clearer understanding of the policies relating to medical provision and the responses by the Post Office workforce. It will identify the key aspects of that policy and how those changed over time, linking it both to medical knowledge and practice and to the way it was implemented by the Post Office. The research will adopt a comparative approach, comparing the Post Office with similar organisations, such as the Metropolitan Police, Civil Service, railway companies and the Bank of England. The research will question the reasons why organisations provided free medical care and evaluate the relationships between that provision and the granting of pensions to workers who were forced to retire because of ill health. The research will also explore how workers responded to the provision of medical care and sick pay.

The main evidence is the correspondence between the Post Office and the Treasury, contained in archives at The Postal Museum in London. Workers’ responses are found in trade union records mainly kept at the Modern Records Centre (University of Warwick). Research into other organisations might involve travel to archives elsewhere in London and further afield. Supervisors: Prof David Green ( and Dr Kathleen McIlvenna

For further details please see:


Medical Careers in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office. (Kingston University)

This PhD aims to develop a clearer understanding of the career trajectories of doctors employed by the Post Office. This studentship will focus on identifying the medical doctors employed by the Post Office and their professional backgrounds. It will identify change over time and between places. It will link these findings to the analysis of morbidity and mortality that is the focus of the Addressing Health project. The findings from this PhD will help to identify any systematic differences in patterns of sickness absence and health related retirement arising from variations in medical practice. The research will draw on primary archives containing correspondence about medical provision in the Post Office and link this to entries in the Medical Register, which is available at the Wellcome Library in London and also online. It will build up the professional characteristics of doctors employed by the Post Office and explore the significance of that employment in relation to other sources of employment. It will involve detailed case studies of individual Post Office doctors who were particularly important figures in their respective fields, including the chief medical officers. The research will adopt a prosopographical approach to understanding the individual career trajectories of Post Office doctors, and will require an awareness of statistical techniques to evaluate the ways in which diagnoses made by individual doctors might have influenced reporting of ill health in the workforce. The main body of evidence is located in London or online, but other relevant papers might require travel to archives outside London. Supervisors: Dr Doug Brown ( and Prof Nicola Shelton (UCL)

For further details please see: