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ePortfolio of Ed Devane

I completed my PhD project in March 2022 and now work as a Policy Advisor at the Department of Health and Social Care. To speak to me about academic work, contact:

My project, Building the NHS: planning, publics and Britain's new state healthcare facilities, 1945 - 1974 was supervised by Professor Mathew Thomson and Professor Roberta Bivins, supported by the Wellcome Trust.

The thesis studied the planning, design, construction, and commissioning of primary and secondary healthcare institutions in postwar Britain. Whether due to wartime bomb damage or decades of under-investment, the poor condition of inherited buildings was one of the earliest crises the British National Health Service (NHS) had to contend with. Yet for almost fourteen years, no central government policy came close to providing adequate support for the development of new facilities. My project argues that in spite of this, the planning and design of hospitals and health centres continued as a dynamic, locally rooted, and often contentious process, which is altogether symbolic of how the wider health service really developed and acquired meaning.

Research Interests

- Resource Allocation and Health Service Expenditure

- Framing, Decision-making and Expertise

- International Networks, NGOs and the NHS

- Urban and Rural History

- Popular Politics and Welfare Capitalism, c.1945 - 1974


2023 Contributor to the History of Parliament Trust book, The NHS at 75.

2022 Ed DeVane, 'Building the NHS: planning publics and Britain's new state healthcare facilities, 1945-1974, University of Warwick PhD Thesis'.

2021 Ed DeVane, NHS Myths and the Realities of Global Britain, History & Policy

2021 Ed DeVane, 'Pilgrim's Progress: the Landscape of the NHS Hospital', Twentieth Century British History

2021 Ed DeVane and Sarah Bunn, 'Childhood Obesity', Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology 

2020 Ed DeVane, 'Building Welfare States', History Workshop Online

2019 Ed DeVane, 'The Story of My Street', People's History of the NHS

Conference Papers & Public Engagement

July 2021 Contributor to Architecture and Health, Podcast of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain

June 2021, Operational Research and the Crises in NHS Hospitals, 1966-72, Cities, Crisis and Change 1600 to the present, Urban History Group

May 2021, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the NHS: Operational Research, Think Tanks, and Changing Models of British Hospital Care in the Cold War, 1964 – 72, Space and the Hospital: International Network for the History of Hospitals Conference, University of Lisbon

May 2021, Love and the Teaching Hospital, Invited research seminar for the Centre for the History of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

September 2020, The Ninewells Affair: Governance, Planning, and Scotland’s New Teaching Hospital, as part of the interdisciplinary conference I organised, Building Welfare States: New Approaches to Architecture, Community and Planning in Twentieth Century Britain, University of Warwick

July 2020"Charing Cross at Fulham": Building Resilience in the Reorganization of London’s Teaching Hospital System, 1945 - 1973', Society for the Social History of Medicine 50th Anniversary Conference: Resilience, University of Swansea *cancelled due to COVID-19

June 2020 Contesting Political Power Through the Hospital: Architectures of Balance and the Early National Health Service, c. 1945 – 70, Architectures of Power: Buildings of Politics and Governance, 1750 - 2000, Girton College, University of Cambridge *cancelled due to COVID-19

April 2020 Land, Power, NHS: Recovering the Relationship Between Site and Sight in the Design of Modern British State Hospitals, c. 1945 - 1970, Urban History Group Conference 2020: Beyond the Functioning City: Defining and Contesting Urban Order 1600 to the Present, St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford *cancelled due to COVID-19

July 2019 Seventy Years of Activism, Housing, Health, and Welfare on Jardine Crescent, presented as part of a community history event I organised The Story of My Street: Activism Housing, Health and Welfare in Coventry, 1911 - 2019, St. Oswald's Church, Coventry, for the Story of My Street project PIs: Professor Roberta Bivins and Professor Sarah Richardson

June 2019 The Austerity Health Centre: How Public Opinion Shaped Early NHS Primary/Community Healthcare Policy, Exeter Postgraduate Medical Humanities Conference: Embodiment, Health, and Medicine, University of Exeter

May 2019 True Pioneers? Modernity and the Austerity Health Centre, presented as part of the Department of History Postgraduate Conference which I co-organised with Ricardo Aguilar, Oihane Etayo, Aleema Gray, Ni Leiyun, and Beckie Rutherford

March 2019 That's Our Idea for this Town, Building Unbuilding, Rebuilding the NHS: An Interdisciplinary Workshop, Black Country Living Museum

Awards and Funding

  • 2021 Wellcome Trust Secondment Fellowship to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • 2018 - 2022 Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentship
  • 2017 Best Overall Grade and Best Research Dissertation Grade on MA
  • 2015 Simon Collier Prize for Best Essay in Latin American and Caribbean History


2018 - 2022 University of Warwick, PhD History

2016 - 2017 University of York, MA Medical History and Humanities

2012 - 2015 University of Essex, BA Modern History

Other Experience

2021 Co-organiser of the Building with Feeling reading group

2019 - 2020 Co-organiser of the Centre for the History of Medicine Reading Lunch

2018 - present Volunteer and co-opted steering committee member, Healthwatch Coventry

2017 - 2018 Analyst, ICON Clinical Research plc

2016 - 2017 Research Assistant, University of York Graduate Students Association, University of York

2016 British Library Digitisation Officer, British Newspaper Archive, Findmypast

2015 - 2016 Graduate Research Intern, The Sloane Letters Project, PI: Dr Lisa Smith, University of Essex

2014 - 2016 Volunteer and student researcher, Bourne Mill Project, University of Essex/National Trust

Ed DeVane


Centre for History of Medicine

Humanities Building

University of Warwick