People's History of the NHS


About Us

About the website

The People’s History of the NHS asked you to help us research what the NHS means and how it has shaped our lives since its creation. It has been a central part of our bigger academic project investigating the cultural history of the NHS, funded by the Wellcome Trust from 2015 until 2021. Collecting your personal stories and memories about the NHS and saving them for the future was one of our central objectives, and you have all been so generous in sharing these with us!

Many of you joined our team as members, and shared your stories with us and with each other via this website. All of these stories have now been deposited at the Modern Record Centre, here on the University of Warwick campus, where they will remain available for research (in accordance with the consents you gave us). Anyone can use the Modern Record Centre – they are lovely folks, so don’t be shy! Those of you who filled in our NHS Workplace Survey, either on paper or online, and everyone who shared stories and comments with us at our events: your contributions are also held at the Modern Records Centre for future research, again according to the terms you set when you shared the material with us.

Others added their stories, questions and comments to our blogs, encyclopaedia, and museum galleries and objects. These comments and stories will remain available for us all to read and enjoy. Thank you! (But if you ever feel you want to remove yours, you can do this by contacting us, as noted on the relevant pages).

The People’s Encyclopaedia is still where you’ll find short entries on a variety of everyday, overlooked and eccentric subjects in the history of the NHS. These draw on both our research and your suggestions, and are enriched by all your comments too!

In the Virtual Museum  you’ll find our collection of images, objects and artefacts related to the NHS. We have grouped them together in themed galleries, or you can sample the objects individually via the Virtual Museum tab.

In the real world we ran a series of public events and visits to local history and community groups, talking with them about the history of the NHS and what it has meant to them. You can find out more about our visits here and by looking at our blogs, where we discuss them.

Find out more

For further details of the university research project click here.

If you wanted a reminder about what we have done with anything you share with us, see our Project Information Sheet.

For anything else our Frequently Asked Questions page may have the answer.

About the team

This website is run by the research team of the Cultural History of the NHS project at the University of Warwick.

Current Team

Roberta Bivins is a historian of medicine and migration. She is looking at how the NHS has (or has not?) helped to make British society more inclusive and equal. She is also interested in how the history of the NHS can help to inform its future.

Rosemary Cresswell is a historian of health and humanitarianism from 1850 to 2020. She is particularly interested in infectious disease and emergency medicine. She is responsible for the project’s website and archiving resources.

Hannah Elizabeth is a cultural historian of health, emotions, and activism in 20th and 21st century Britain, with particular interests in histories of childhood, sexuality, and HIV. Their current research investigates 1990s lesbian health activism and experiences within the NHS.

Jane Hand is a historian of visual images and public health in postwar Britain, working on health education and citizenship in the NHS.

Mathew Thomson is a historian of twentieth-century Britain. He has worked on the histories of psychiatry, psychology and childhood. He is currently writing a cultural history of the NHS.

Associate Team Members

Gareth Millward is a historian of the post-war British welfare state researching the use of “sick notes” in employment, heath and social security policy. His previous research projects focused on disability and vaccination.

Christopher Sirrs is a historian of medicine and health, currently researching the history of safety in NHS general hospitals from c.1960 to the present. For further information please visit

Former Team Members

Andrew Burchell is a historian of medicine in twentieth-century Britain. His work on the NHS project used the Mass-Observation Project Archive to unlock historical memories of the NHS and to examine experiences of mental health.

Jennifer Crane is a historian of activism in twentieth century Britain, and is researching how campaign groups have praised, criticised, used and shaped the NHS.  She is also jointly responsible for the team’s public engagement activities.

George Campbell Gosling is a historian of medicine, charity and money in modern Britain. He is looking into NHS charges, fundraising and the idea of a ‘free’ health service.

Natalie Jones is a visual artist and literary scholar, looking into cultural representations of the NHS. She is also jointly responsible for the team’s public engagement activities.

Jack Saunders is a historian of work and workplace culture in post-war Britain and is researching the experiences and changing attitudes of NHS staff.

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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, 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.

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