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Occupational and environmental health research at Glasgow

July 22, 2010

By Arthur McIvor

The cluster of folk at the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare working on occupational and environmental health history are alive, well and research-active!

CSHHH Research Associate Andrew Perchard has recently completed work on his aluminium communities book, Aluminiumville (due out later this year), which includes an extensive section on the development of medical science and the occupational and environmental health hazards of working in the aluminium smelters in the Scottish Highlands. Dr Perchard presented papers on the latter at the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine (Montreal, May 2010) and at the 4th International Conference on the History of Occupational and Environmental Health (San Francisco, June 2010). Dr Perchard is currently developing his interests in deindustrialisation and health, focusing on traditional Scottish working-class communities, both in the central belt and in the Highlands.

CSHHH Research Associate Sue Morrison (previously a PhD student here) has just had her first book published, The Silicosis Experience in Scotland (Lambert Academic, 2010). Dr Morrison is currently pursuing her interests in Scottish environmental history. Wellcome Trust-funded PhD student William McDougall has recently started his investigation of the Society for the Prevention of Asbestos and Industrial Diseases, 1969–2000. He is researching the extensive archive donated by its founder, the late Nancy Tait, deposited at the University of Strathclyde Library/Archives in Glasgow. PhD student Emma Reilly, working on the military body in World War II, has been exploring the connections between the occupational health movement in the 1930s and 1940s and military medicine.

Ronnie Johnston and I continue with our collaborative work on occupational health history, developing our work on dust diseases, company occupational health strategies and occupational medicine in Scotland, together with new work on TB as an occupational disease. Papers on the latter were presented this year at conferences in Montreal and San Francisco (details above).

An important strand of our work on occupational medicine/health in the CSHHH involves oral history methodology, and close liaison on this continues with the Scottish Oral History Centre at the University of Strathclyde. Recent interviews include several Scottish occupational hygienists and veterans of World War II working on the ‘home front’ in the Reserved Occupations.

Professor Arthur McIvor is a Professor of History at the University of Strathclyde.

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