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Week 11: Institutions

Lecturer: Hilary Marland


When one considers modern medical care, the most usual image that comes to mind is the hospital, large, orderly and equipped with the new healing technologies. The modern hospital had its roots in the charitable voluntary hospitals and dispensaries, first established in the eighteenth century. These institutions provided care for the ‘deserving’ poor, often on a small scale, with admissions being made as much on social as on medical grounds. Yet steadily they became increasingly the site of specialised medical activity and the large-scale organisations they have become today.


Discussion/Essay Questions:

  1. What drove the establishment of hospitals and dispensaries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?
  2. Did voluntary hospitals serve their patients, their patrons or their doctors?
  3. In what ways did science permeate and come to dominate institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

Required Reading:

S. Jacyna, ‘Mr Scott’s Case: A View of London Medicine in 1825’, in R. Porter (ed.), The Popularization of Medicine 1650-1850 (1992), 254-65. Course Extract

N.D. Jewson, ‘The Disappearance of the Sick-Man from Medical Cosmology, 1770-1870’, Sociology, 10 (1976), 225-44. e-journal


Further Reading:

A. Borsay and P. Shapely (eds.), Medicine, Charity and Mutual Aid: The Consumption of Health and Welfare in Britain, c.1550-1950 (2007).

A. Borsay, Medicine and Charity in Georgian Bath: A Social History of the General Infirmary, c. 1739-1830 (1999).

D. Brunton, ‘The Rise of Laboratory Medicine’, in D. Brunton (ed.), Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800-1930 (2004), 92-118.

A. Cunningham and P. Williams (eds), The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine (1992).

S. Cherry, ‘The Hospitals and Population Growth: The Voluntary General Hospitals, Mortality and Local Populations in the English Provinces in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, Pts 1 and 2, Population Studies, 34 (1980), 59-75, 251-66. e-journal

M. Fissell, Patients, Power and the Poor in Eighteenth-Century Bristol (1991).

L. Granshaw, ‘The Rise of the Modern Hospital in Britain’, in A. Wear (ed.), Medicine in Society: Historical Essays (1992), pp. 197-218.

A. La Berge and C. Hannaway, Constructing Paris Medicine (1998).

J. Lane, A Social History of Medicine health, healing and disease in England, 1750-1950 (2001), chs 3 and 5.

J. Howell, ‘Hospitals’, in Roger Cooter and John Pickstone (eds), Medicine in the Twentieth Century (2000), 503-18.

J. Howell, Technology in the Hospital: Transforming Patient Care in the Early Twentieth Century (1995). (Ordered)

C. Lawrence, ‘A Tale of Two Sciences: Bedside and Bench in Twentieth-Century Britain’, Medical History, 43 (1999), 421-49. e-journal

C. Lawrence, Medicine in the Making of Modern Britain 1700-1920 (1994)

H. Marland, Medicine and Society in Wakefield and Huddersfield, 1780-1870 (1987), chs 4 and 5.

H. Marland, ‘The Changing Role of the Hospital, 1800-1900’, in D. Brunton (ed.), Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800-1930 (2004), 31-60.

G. Mooney, B. Luckin and A. Tanner, ‘Patient Pathways: Solving the Problem of Institutional Mortality in London during the Later Nineteenth Century’, Social History of Medicine, 12 (1999), 227-69. e-journal

J.V. Pickstone, Medicine and Industrial Society: A History of Hospital Development in Manchester and its Region 1752-1946 (1985).

R. Porter, ‘The Gift Relation: Philanthropy and Provincial Hospitals in Eighteenth-Century England’, in L. Granshaw and R. Porter (eds), The Hospital in History (1989), 149-78.

S.J. Reiser, Medicine and the Reign of Technology (1978).

S.J. Reiser, Technological Medicine: The Changing World of Doctors and Patients (2009).

G. Risse, Hospital Life in Enlightenment Scotland: Care and Teaching at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (1986).

G. Risse, Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals (1999).

C. E. Rosenberg, The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America’s Hospital System (1987).

K. Waddington, Charity and the London Hospitals, 1850-1898 (2000).

K. Waddington, An Introduction to the Social History of Medicine: Europe Since 1500 (2011), chs. 8, 10.

J. Woodward, To Do the Sick No Harm: A Study of the British Voluntary Hospital System to 1875 (1974).