Grants awarded

Addressing health: morbidity, mortality and occupational health in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office

Grantholder:

Prof David Green

King's College London

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Douglas Brown

Kingston University

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Prof Nicola Shelton

University College London

United Kingdom

Grantholder:

Dr Kathleen McIlvenna

University of Derby

United Kingdom

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Britain and other Western countries witnessed a fall in mortality but a rise in sickness rates. This is called the epidemiological transition. The General Post Office (GPO) was an extremely important employer in Britain in the 19th and 20th century. However, its workforce had relatively high rates of sickness and many postal workers retired prematurely because of illness. 

We will explore the pattern of sickness during this transition by using a set of records created by the GPO that note the health of its workers. We will identify geographical differences in the incidence of ill health and we will identify the ultimate cause of death for a sample of workers. This will help us understand the day-to-day experience of ill health in the workforce. We will also explain how the GPO responded to these problems by exploring the provision of medical care and other interventions.