People's History of the NHS

Latest Entries from the Encyclopaedia

Mental Health

A significant interest in something called mental health, not just mental illness, can be dated back in Britain to the interwar years. In other words, it was not a product of the new National Health Service. Indeed, hope that the new service might provide the opportunity for a vigorous state programme directed at mental health met disappointment. Recognition of the

Representation: Who gets a say in the NHS?

The question of who gets a say in how the health service is run was a controversial question from its foundation. Should staff be allowed to help decide the NHS’ priorities? How should patients’ views be treated? What weight should the opinions of local and national government have? What about citizens? In setting up the service the 1945 Labour Government

Scotland and the National Health Service

Guest encyclopaedia entry by Professor John Stewart. Pictured: Lord (John) Boyd Orr of Brechin (1880-1971).   The National Health Service (NHS) is often, and quite rightly, cited as one of the institutions which make people most proud to be British. Nonetheless within the United Kingdom there is not one NHS, but rather three. When the post-war Labour government was building the welfare

Latest Blog post

dont-worry-about-what-youll-pick-up-at-work-1990s

World AIDS Day

The 1st of December marks World AIDS Day – a day dedicated to showing support for and solidarity with HIV/AIDS sufferers worldwide. Launched in 1988, World AIDS Day represented the first global health day centred on a single disease and aimed to overcome stigma, raise awareness and mourn those who had died from the disease. Launched during a period when

News & Events

Working with Health Exchange!

This autumn, our team have been holding a series of events with the social enterprise Health Exchange.  Health Exchange are based in Birmingham, and work with local communities to help people to understand and manage their health.  Health Exchange convened nine sessions on our behalf, including with BME NHS staff, local faith groups, a ‘Golden Age’ lunch club, and the

Get Involved!


Giving gifts is an overlooked aspect of the everyday history of the NHS. The bag of grapes or magazine brought in for the patient. The bunch of flowers or box of chocolates for the nurses. The get well card and the thank you card. Even the sponsored half-marathon to give something back.

These are all everyday rituals in the NHS. They are part of its lived history yet never feature in its written history. Help us change that by completing our short survey on gift-giving in the NHS or by signing up below and become a member and share more memories.

... or
Sitewide Search

Twitter Feed

The information is provided by us and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. We only capture and store personal information with the prior consent of users. Any personal information collected as part of the user registration process or the submission of material (including, but not limited to, name, address, e-mail address) will be stored securely on Warwick University servers, and accessible only to members of the Cultural History of the NHS project team. We will not sell, license or trade your personal information to others. We do not provide your personal information to direct marketing companies or other such organizations. These opinions do not necessarily represent those of Warwick University or the Wellcome Trust.