Dr George Gosling

Lecturer in History

George Gosling
Email address: gcgosling@wlv.ac.uk Phone number: 01902 323498 Location: Room MH124, Mary Seacole Building Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences School/Institute: School of Social, Historical and Political Studies Areas of expertise: modern British history; charity; health and welfare


George Campbell Gosling joined the University of Wolverhampton in 2017. He previously held teaching and research posts at King's College London, the University of Liverpool, Oxford Brookes University, City, University of London, and most recently at the University of Warwick as a Research Fellow in the Cultural History of the NHS.

His book - Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48 - was published by Manchester University Press in February 2017 and thanks to funding from the Wellcome Trust is available to read for free as an open access e-book at the OAPEN library.

He is a former trustee of the Voluntary Action History Society and is currently the Communications Officer for the Social History Society.

You'll find him online on twitter, instagram and over at his own 'Musings' blog where he regularly blogs about academic life and his areas of research and teaching, including a popular series of 'advice to students' study skills posts.

Research interests

George Campbell Gosling is a social, cultural and political historian of modern Britain, primarily using the themes of medicine, charity and welfare to explore wider questions of citizenship and consumerism. His work to date has largely focused on healthcare in Britain before and after the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948. His first monograph - Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48 (MUP, 2017) - explores the complex meanings of payment in the pre-NHS hospital, arguing patient payments found a surprisingly traditional accommodation with long-established class-bound principles of philanthropy. More recently he has turned his attention to the meaning of 'free' in the NHS, where efforts to demonetise the delivery of and access to medical care can be understood as a moral mission to recast a new distinctly non-transactional form of citizenship. He is also planning research into the history of charity shops in postwar Britain.

Before coming to the University of Wolverhampton, he worked as a researcher on two large projects. One was helping Professor Pat Thane set up a project on the 50-year history of the Child Poverty Action Group at King's College London in 2014-15, funded by the British Academy. The other was as one of the postdoctoral research fellows under Professors Roberta Bivins and Mathew Thomson on the Wellcome Trust funded Cultural History of the NHS project in 2015-17.

Membership of professional bodies

  • Social History Society - Communications Officer and committee member
  • Voluntary Action History Society - member and former trustee
  • Society for the Social History of Medicine - member
  • Voluntary Sector Studies Network - member
  • Economic History Society - member


  • PhD, Oxford Brookes University (2011)
  • MA in the History of Medicine, Oxford Brookes University (2007)
  • BA in History and Social Policy, Bangor University (2006)



Payment and Philanthropy in British Healthcare, 1918-48 (Manchester University Press, February 2017) - available as an open access e-book

Edited collections

Understanding the Roots of Voluntary Action: Historical Perspectives on Current Social Policy, co-edited with Colin Rochester, Alison Penn and Meta Zimmeck (Sussex Academic Press, 2011)

Healthcare and the Community in Modern Britain, focus section edited and introductory essay co-authored with Stephen Soanes for Family and Community History, vol. 12, no. 2 (2009)

Peer-reviewed articles and essays

Gender, Money and Professional Identity: Medical Social Work and the Coming of the British National Health Service, Women’s History Review (forthcoming 2018) - already available as an open access article online

Rethinking the Gift Relationship: Philanthropy in Modern British History (to be translated and published in German), Historische Zeitschrift special issue on solidarity and voluntary action (forthcoming 2017)

Gender, Money and Professional Identity: Medical Social Work and the Coming of the British National Health Service, Women’s History Review (forthcoming 2017)

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 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Paying for Health: Comparative Perspectives on Patient Payment and Contributions for Hospital Provision in Ireland co-authored with Donnacha Seán Lucey in Lucey and Virginia Crossman (eds), Healthcare in Ireland and Britain from 1850: Voluntary, Regional and Comparative Perspectives (IHR, 2015)

Healthcare as Nation-Building: The Case of the British National Health Service co-authored with Glen O’Hara in Paul Weindling (ed.), Healthcare in Private and Public from the Early Modern Period to 2000 (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), 475-494

The Patient Contract in Bristol’s Voluntary Hospitals, c.1918-1929, University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 11 (2007), 1-16

“Co-operate! Co-ordinate! Unify!” The 1920 Proposal to Amalgamate the Medical Charities of Bristol, Southern History, vol. 29 (2007), 83-106

Book reviews

'Voluntarisms and the Welfare State: Histories and Policies' review essay in Cultural and Social History (forthcoming 2018)

The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times edited by Beth Breeze and John Mohan in Voluntary Sector Review (forthcoming 2017)

Almost Worthy: The Poor, Paupers, and the Science of Charity in America, 1877-1917 by Brent Ruswick in Voluntary Sector Review, vol. 5, no. 3 (2014), 417-418

The Ages of Voluntarism: How we got to the Big Society edited by Matthew Hilton and James McKay in Contemporary British History, vol. 26, no. 2 (2012), 255-256

Further information

Teaching interests

Dr Gosling is the module leader on:

5HS007 - 'Preserving the Past: Heritage, History and Identity' (Level 5)
6HS015 - 'Doing Good? Histories of Charity in Modern Britain and Beyond' (Level 6)

In 2017/18 he will also be part of the teaching team for:

4HS001 - The Pursuit of History
4PO004 - Campaigning and Citizenship: Women in Britain and its Empire from 1800 to 1950
4SA008 - Contemporary Social Policy
6HS004 - Independent Study
7WR015 - Total War: The British Experience, 1914-1918

External academic roles

  • Visiting Lecturer in Grantmaking and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City, University of London (since 2015)
  • Communications Officer for the Social History Society (2015-18)