Work Health and State 1830-1950 (HISM200)

Staff - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Pre-requisitesThose of entry to the MA programme
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The aim of this module is to examine the development of occupational health and state provisions for the health and safety of the labour force in an industrialising society. The module will concentrate on the U.K. experience, placing these developments within an international comparative framework. The module builds from an examination of industrialisation and disease patterns recorded from the 1830s to an assessment of state policies in such areas as factory legislation, accident provisions, protection of children and female workers, to a wider consideration of how toxic substances and dust came to be more tightly regulated from the end of the nineteenth century. In each specific topic a relevant comparison with another European or other society is introduced (including United States and South Africa), within a larger context of welfare state provision during the twentieth century. The module is consolidated in an examination of industrial medical provision and the debates over workers

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. On completing this module, students should be able to identify different occupational diseases.
  • 2. They should have a detailed knowledge of the epidemiology of industrial illness and the techniques of medical treatment.
  • 3. On completing this module, students should be able to discuss the development and distinctive features of occupational health legislation in Britain.
  • 4. They should be able to evaluate and analyse the distinction between work-based and environmental illness.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Students should have the ability analyse and synthesise widely different types of material and evidence related to the historiography of medical history and the understanding of the progress of health and disease.
  • 6. Students should be able to present independent accounts and appraisals of different issues in the development of health legislation.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Capacity for independent critical study.
  • 8. The ability to construct and defend a sustained argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.
  • 9. They should have the capacity to work both as an independent individual and to work with an instructor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way (eg. lead a group discussion or task).

Syllabus plan

1. Introduction: the working environment and the social environment. 2. Industrialisation, work and the urban/rural environment in Britain, c. 1830-1900. 3. Factories, mines, workshops and the pattern of state regulation, 1830-1939: comparison with Germany. 4. Accidents, injuries and industrial compensation, 1880-1946. 5. Women and children first? Gender, childhood and the protection of the worker, 1830-1946. 6. Employment, unemployment and illness: state benefits, voluntary provision and the epidemiogical transition in the health of the workforce, 1850-1950. 7. Toxic substances and deadly dust: the beginnings of medical regulation of work, 1897-1946. 8. Management, output and morale: industrial psychology and the mental hygiene movement in Britain and the United States, 1890-1946. 9. Industrial medicine and professionalisation: medical men and the politics of occupational disease in Britain, 1890-1950. 10. The world of industry and the struggle for an industrial medical service, 1918-48. 11. International regulation and the uneven development of occupational health regulation. 12. Conclusions, summary and review.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22Seminars
Guided independent study278Independent study

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay 1504000 words1-9written and oral
Essay 2504000 words1-9written and oral

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Paul Weindling, Social History of Occupational Health (Croom Helm, 1985)
Helen Jones, Health and Society in Twentieth Century Britain (Longmans, 1994)
J.C. Riley, Sick, Not Dead. The Health of the British Workingmen during the Mortality Decline
(John Hopkins Press, 1997)
Geoff Tweedale, Magic Mineral to Deadly Dust (Oxford UP, 2000)
P.W.J. Bartrip and S. Burman, Wounded Soldiers of Industry (Oxford UP, 1983)
P.W.J. Bartrip, Workmen’s Compensation in Twentieth Century Britain (Avebury, 1987)
D. Rosner and G. Markowitz, Deadly Dust (Princeton UP, 1993)
C. Sellers, Hazards of the job: from industrial disease to environmental health science (University North Carolina Press, 1997)
R. Cooter, Surgery and Society in Peace and War (Macmillan, 1994)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?