Other Projects

Building on my training in the history of medicine and the environment, I am currently working on two projects that span these fields.

The Ends of Coal

Image – Coal Mining Training at Ollerton, Nottinghamshire (1943), Creative Commons

I am researching a new book, currently titled The Ends of Coal. This project explores British coal’s impacts and legacies in the period after 1945. Rather than the ‘end’ of coal, I trace the lesser-known ‘ends’ of coal, interrogating its longer-term consequences for health and the landscape, the emergence of environmentalism, and decolonisation. The book incorporates the perspectives of workers, managers of public industries, scientists, economists, activists, and cultural figures like novelists to challenge our understanding of what happened to a resource that had previously enabled Britain to become the first industrial nation and command a global empire.

The Right to Know

I am also revising research that stems from my earlier work on the NHS. This work explores the history of the ‘right to know’ about one’s possible or probable death in the UK and the US. Until surprisingly late in the twentieth century, medical practitioners would typically not inform a patient of a terminal diagnosis. The article considers how the ‘death awareness movement’ (comprised of hospice activists, psychologists, anthropologists and sociologists, among others) campaigned for patients to be told the truth about their condition, premised on influential arguments regarding an apparent ‘taboo’ about death in the industrialised world.

Saint Christopher’s Hospice, London (2015), Creative Commons