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Research Fellow: Dr George Campbell Gosling

George Gosling

Office Hours:

By appointment


Academic Profile

  • 2015-2017: Research Fellow in the Cultural History of the NHS, University of Warwick
  • 2015-present: Visiting Lecturer in Grantmaking and Philanthropy, City, University of London
  • 2014-2015: Research Associate, Institute for Contemporary British History, King's College London
  • 2014-2015: Teaching Fellow in Modern History, University of Warwick
  • 2012-2014: University Teacher in Modern British History, University of Liverpool
  • 2007-2011: PhD and Teaching Associate in History, Oxford Brookes University

In April 2015 I was elected as Comunications Officer for the Social History Society for a three-year term.


I work on the economic life of medicine and charity in modern British history. Between 2015 and 2018 I am a Research Fellow on the Wellcome-funded Cultural History of the NHS project. My focus on this project is on the meaning of 'free' in the cultural history of the NHS. This gives me an opportunity to move on to the next chapter from my previous work exploring the place, workings and meaning of payment within pre-NHS hospitals. This is the subject of my first monograph: Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48 (forthcoming Manchester University Press, February 2017). It also allows me to build upon some earlier research on postwar Britain working for Professor Pat Thane on the history of the Child Poverty Action Group. I am esepcially interested in brining new perspectives on money - including those drawn from the new economic sociology - into social, cultural and medical history.


I've held teaching fellowships at the Universities of Liverpool and Warwick, as well as visiting or part-time teaching positions at Oxford Brookes and City University, London's Cass Business School. The core of my experience comes from my time as a University Teacher in Modern British History at the University of Liverpool. While there I introduced my own new modules on British Society and the First World War, Britain in the 1920s and the history of medical charity. I also redesigned the first-year modern British survey course and the postgraduate study skills training, as well as heading up the team setting up a new compulsory undergraduate historiography module. In 2015 my Warwick students kindly nominated me for the Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence. During my Research Fellowship my teaching is limited to guest lectures on the history of healthcare and charity at City and Warwick Universities.


I've been blogging since 2011, initially as contributing editor of the Voluntary Action History Society blog. Today I blog both on my own Musings website, where I reflect on academic events, the historical process, teaching and study skills, and comment on current policy debates relating to my areas of research, and for the People's History of the NHS website, which I jointly run for the Warwick NHS project. I've contributed to various online blogging forums, including Oxford University's War World 1 Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings and those of the History & Policy, History Lab Plus and Perceptions of Pregnancy networks. My most popular blog posts are those offering advice to students, often on how to approach and write different types of assignments. These are regularly given to History students, with over one-third of universities in the UK directing their students to my blog from their website.



Edited Collections and Special Issues

  • Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action: Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy, edited with Colin Rochester, Alison Penn and Meta Zimmeck (Sussex Academic Press, 2011)
  • Healthcare and the Community in Modern Britain, edited focus section of Family and Community History, vol.12, no.2 (2009)

Journal Articles and Essays in Edited Collections

  • 'The Birth of the Pregnant Patient-Consumer? Payment, Paternalism and Maternity Hospitals in Early Twentieth-Century England' in Jennifer Evans and Ciara Meehan (eds), Perceptions of Pregnancy from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Century (London: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming December 2016)
  • ‘Paying for Health: Comparative Perspectives on Patient Payment and Contributions for Hospital Provision in Ireland’ (with Donnacha Sean Lucey) in Virginia Crossman and Donnacha Sean Lucey (eds), Healthcare in Ireland and Britain 1850-1970: Voluntary, Regional and Comparative Perspectives (London: IHR, 2015)
  • ‘Healthcare as Nation-Building: The Case of the British National Health Service’ (with Glen O’Hara) in Paul Weindling (ed.), Healthcare in Private and Public from the Early Modern Period to 2000 (London: Routledge, 2014)
  • “Open the Other Eye”: Payment, Civic Duty and Hospital Contributory Schemes in Bristol, c.1927-1948, Medical History, vol. 54, no. 4 (2010), pp. 475-494
  • The Patient Contract in Bristol’s Voluntary Hospitals, c.1918-1929, University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 11 (2007), pp. 1-16
  • “Co-operate! Co-ordinate! Unify!” The 1920 Proposal to Amalgamate the Medical Charities of Bristol, Southern History, vol. 29 (2007), pp.83-106

Book Reviews

  • Brent Ruswick, ‘Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917’, Voluntary Sector Review, vol. 5, no. 3 (2015), pp. 417-418
  • Matthew Hilton and James McKay (eds), The Ages of Voluntarism: How we got to the Big Society (London, 2012) in Contemporary British History, vol. 26, no. 2 (2012), pp. 255-256

Key blog posts and opinion pieces



  • ‘Book Launch Seminar: Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48’ with panel of speakers including Pamela Cox, Mathew Thomson, Pat Thane and Colin Rochester for the Voluntary Action History Society seminar series, Institute of Historical Research, London (3 April 2017)
  • 'NHS Street Art: Statism and Subversion' with Natalie Linda Jones at the International Network for the History of Hospitals conference on Beauty and the Hospital in History, Malta (6–8 April 2017)
  • 'The Meaning of "Free" in the Cultural History of the NHS' for the New History Lab seminar series, University of Leicester (12 May 2017)


  • 'Patient Payments in Britain and Beyond' at the European Healthcare Before Welfare States workshop at the University of Huddersfield (February 2017)
  • ‘Graffiti and the NHS’ at a Radicals Assemble evening on activism, public opinion and the NHS at the People’s History Museum, Manchester (August 2016)
  • ‘Voluntarism without Philanthropy? Fundraising and the British National Health Service’ as part of a panel on Fundraising in Modern Britain with Dr Sarah Roddy, Professor Julie-Marie Strange and Professor Bertrand Taithe at the Voluntary Action History Society 25th Anniversary Conference, University of Liverpool (July 2016)
  • ‘Money, Professional Authority and the Lady Almoner’ at the Seeking Legitimacy workshop at the University of Birmingham (June 2016)
  • ‘On Value(s): New Approaches to the Social History of Money’ roundtable with Dr Sarah Flew, Dr Richard Huzzey and chaired by Professor Karen Hunt at the Social History Society 40th Anniversary Conference, Lancaster University (21-23 March 2016)
  • ‘Cultural Histories of Payment at British Hospitals before and after 1948’ at the Digital Health Insurance workshop at the Open University (October 2015)
  • ‘Voluntary Action and the Gift Relationship in Modern British History’ at the workshop on The Changing Nature of Participation and Solidarity: Voluntary Action, Volunteering and NGOs in Contemporary History, Frankfurt, Germany (September 2015)
  • ‘Gender and Civic Duty: Breadwinners as Paying Patients in British Healthcare before the National Health Service’ at the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health conference on ‘Cash and Care: Economics and Values in the History of Medicine and Health’, Cologne, Germany (September 2015)
  • ‘Campaigning against Child Poverty in 1960s Britain’ at the Social History Society conference at Portsmouth University (April 2015)
  • ‘From Sick Poor to Breadwinners and Citizens: The Social Meaning of Payment in Britain’s pre-NHS Hospitals’, work-in-progress seminar at Warwick University (February 2015)
  • ‘The Interwar Construction of the Pregnant Patient Consumer’ at the Perceptions of Pregnancy: From Medieval to Modern conference at the University of Hertfordshire (July 2014)
  • ‘Paying for Health in the pre-NHS Mixed Economy of Healthcare’, part of a panel on Charity in Changing Times for the Social History Society conference, University of Northumbria (April 2014)
  • ‘Rethinking the Gift Relationship’ at the VAHS International Research Conference, University of Huddersfield (July 2013)
  • ‘Middle-Class Medicine: Private Hospital Provision before the National Health Service’, research seminar at Glasgow Caledonian University (February 2013) and the University of Liverpool (March 2013)
  • ‘Charity Begins at Home?’ at the Making Connections workshop, Oxford Brookes University (March 2012)
  • ‘Payment and Entitlement in the Voluntary Hospitals: Britain and the Irish Free State compared’, Voluntarism and the State workshop, Trinity College, Dublin (June 2011)
  • ‘Gatekeepers of Medical Charity: The Lady Almoner and the pre-NHS Hospital System, 1895-1948’ at the Social Work, Health and the Home: New Directions in Historical Research workshop, Glasgow Caledonian University (April 2011)
  • ‘Medical Philanthropy or Private Healthcare? Re-Assessing the pre-NHS Voluntary Hospitals in Britain’, at the Western Conference on British Studies in Austin, Texas (September 2010) – winner of the $500 Graduate Prize
  • ‘Charity Universal: Accessing the Voluntary Hospitals of Bristol, c.1735-1948’, A Second City Remembered: Rethinking Bristol’s History, 1400-2000, UWE, Bristol (July 2010)
  • ‘Through the Almoner’s Eyes: Medical Charity, Social Enquiry and the Home’, with Lynsey Cullen at the Charity Begins at Home: Approaches to the History of Domestic Space and Voluntary Action, VAHS New Researchers workshop, University of Warwick (March 2010)
  • ‘“Towards Unification”? The Hospital Contributory Scheme Problem in Bristol before 1948’, seminar given to theVoluntary Action History Society at the IHR, London (April 2009)
  • ‘Locating Charity in the Mixed Economy: Rethinking Medical Voluntarism before the NHS’ at the Medicine and Charity New Researchers workshop, Oxford Brookes University (February 2009)
  • ‘Social Ownership, Consumerism and the NHS: Foundation Trusts in Intellectual Context’, Health Care and the People workshop, Glasgow Caledonian University (January 2009)
  • ‘“You have everything here but organisation”: The Campaign for Co-ordination of Healthcare in Bristol, c.1918-1948’ at the Economic History Society Residential Training Course for Research Students, University of Manchester (December 2008)
  • ‘“Open the Other Eye”: Civic Duty and Hospital Contributory Schemes in Bristol, c.1927-1948’ at the VAHS International Research Conference, University of Liverpool (July 2008)

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