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Professor Hilary Marland

Contact Information

Office: Rm 3.38, third floor, Faculty of Arts Building (FAB)
Phone: (024) 76522506
Office Hours: I am on research leave September 2023-April 2024.

News Items:

bedlam image Listen to Hilary Marland on BBC 4 in Our Time 'Bedlam'

I am Principal Investigator on a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award 'The Last Taboo of Motherhood: Postnatal Mental Disorders in Twentieth-Century BritainLink opens in a new window' (2021-24). Together with two Postdoctoral Fellows, I am exploring changing diagnoses, treatment and attitudes towards maternal mental illness across the twentieth century, including increased interest in postnatal depression after the 1960s. Alongside our research, we are developing public engagement work with Fuel TheatreLink opens in a new window, involving the creation of three audio pieces responding to our research.

Between 2014 and 2021, I was Principal Investigator on another Wellcome funded project, 'Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000'. My own interests lie particularly with the impact of prisons on mental health, women's health in prison and prison diet, and my book with Catherine Cox, Disorder Contained: Mental Breakdown and the Modern Prison in England and Ireland, 1840-1900Link opens in a new window, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. Work on the project resulted in several public outreach activities, including the production of a new theatre piece 'Disorder Contained', a theatre of testimony production, a week showcasing our project at Tate Modern (Tate Exchange), and several residencies in prisons, working with theatre companies specialising in producing work in criminal justice settings.

My research has also focused on other aspects of the social and cultural history of medicine and health, particularly in modern Britain. I have published on nineteenth-century medical practice, childbirth and midwifery, alternative medicine and hydropathy, women and medicine, girls' health, infant and maternal welfare, neurasthenia, child health, and medicine and the household. I have a long term interest in women and mental illness, particularly the relationship between reproduction and mental disorder, which resulted in my book Dangerous Motherhood: Insanity and Childbirth in Victorian Britain in 2004. In 2013 I published Health and Girlhood in Britain, 1874-1920, which explored the intersection of ideas of health, medicine and adolescence with the practice of health in schools, the workplace, and sport and recreation, particularly through the medium of advice literature. An earlier project with Dr Catherine Cox at UCD, explored Irish migration and mental illness between the Great Famine and Irish Independence, which resulted in a series of articles and a co-edited volume. In terms of public outreach, I have worked with Talking Birds theatre on 'The Trade in Lunacy', performed in June 2013, and a second piece 'A Malady of Migration' was produced in Coventry and Dublin in summer 2014. I am former editor of the journal Social History of Medicine and serve on the editorial board of History of Psychiatry. In 1998 I established the Centre for the History of Medicine at Warwick and served as its Director until 2008; during this period the CHM won two prestigious Strategic Awards from the Wellcome Trust. I took over as Director of the CHM once again 2015-17 and in 2018-19.

My current and recent PhD students have researched a variety of topics, including therapeutic activities in nineteenth-century asylums; clean eating; old age and mental illness in Victorian Britain; medicine and health in the Mediterranean islands; madness in Bourbon Mexico, 1713-1821; women and depression in interwar Britain; dirt, health and the home gardener in Britain, 1900-1970, and the history of Midland dispensaries 1820-1920. I am happy to receive applications of interest from students eager to study the history of mental health, prison medicine, women and medicine, the history of childbirth, and domestic practices of healing at postgraduate level.

Undergraduate Modules Taught
Postgraduate Modules Taught


  • Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland, Disorder Contained: Mental Breakdown and the Modern Prison in England and Ireland,1840-1900Link opens in a new window (Cambridge University Press, 2022).
  • Health and Girlhood in Britain, 1874-1920 (Houndmills: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).
  • Dangerous Motherhood: Insanity and Childbirth in Victorian Britain (Houndmills: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004).
  • Medicine and Society in Wakefield and Huddersfield 1780-1870 (Cambridge University Press, 1987, republished in paperback 2008).
  • 'Mother and Child were Saved'. The Memoirs (1693-1740) of the Frisian Midwife Catharina Schrader (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi, 1987).

Edited Volumes

  • Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland (eds), Migration, Health and Ethnicity in the Modern World (Houndmills: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013).
  • Hilary Marland and Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra (eds), Cultures of Child Health in Britain and the Netherlands in the Twentieth Century (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2003).
  • Hilary Marland and Anne-Marie Rafferty (eds), Midwives, Society and Childbirth: Debates and Controversies in the Modern Period (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).
  • Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra, Hilary Marland and Hans de Waardt (eds), Illness and Healing Alternatives in Western Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).
  • Hilary Marland and Margaret Pelling (eds), The Task of Healing: Medicine, Religion and Gender in England and the Netherlands, 1450-1800 (Rotterdam: Erasmus Publishing, 1996).
  • Hilary Marland (ed.), The Art of Midwifery: Early Modern Midwives in Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 1993, 1994).
  • Valerie Fildes, Lara Marks and Hilary Marland (eds), Women and Children First: International Maternal and Infant Welfare 1870-1945 (New York and London: Routledge, 1992, re-issued 2013).

Selected Articles

Health and Girlhood cover image

migration book








disorder contained