School of Histories, Languages and Cultures

Dr Rosemary Wall


 Rosemary Wall

Senior Lecturer in Global History

Phone: +44 (0)1482 465608
Email: r.wall@hull.ac.uk



My research examines the history of medicine in Britain and areas of British overseas settlement between 1880 and 1960. I am the Principal Investigator for a new project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council: ‘Crossing Boundaries: The History of First Aid in Britain and France, 1909-1989’, for which I am working with Co-Investigator Professor Barry Doyle at the University of Huddersfield. In connection with this research, I am writing a book on the history of the British Red Cross. I am completing a co-authored interdisciplinary book on British colonial nursing with colleagues at King’s College London. In particular, I focus on the collective biography of the nurses: their training and work experience in the UK and North America, and motivations for working overseas. I investigate their work and lives in areas of the world which include China, British Malaya and Kenya. I am also interested in the history of medicine in late colonial Kenya and am planning a publication on typhoid during the Mau Mau Rebellion. My first project, based on my doctoral research, investigated the use of bacteriology in hospitals, workplaces and local communities and culminated in a published monograph, Bacteria in Britain, 1880-1939 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013; Routledge 2015, paperback 2016).

I enjoy engaging with the public. For example, I have co-designed an iPod app – an interactive tour of the banks of the Thames in London, entitled Navigating Nightingale, which explores the history of London through Florence Nightingale’s interests in topics such as war, religion and social deprivation. I have led curation for exhibitions, including The Thinking Nurse at the Florence Nightingale Museum, and film shows, including Screening the Nurse at the Imperial War Museum.

I was educated at the University of Liverpool (BA) and Imperial College London (MSc and PhD) and undertook my teaching qualification (PGCAP) at King’s College London. I studied Economic and Social History as an undergraduate and History of Science, Technology and Medicine as a postgraduate. Since my PhD, I have held postdoctoral research roles at the University of Oxford and at King’s College London, before undertaking a temporary lectureship in History of Medicine at Imperial College London. I arrived at the University of Hull in September 2012.

Selected Publications

  • Rosemary Wall - Bacteria in BritainRosemary Wall, ‘Frank C. Eve’ [expert in artificial respiration], Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (1000 words, in press, 2016).
  • Rosemary Wall and Anne Marie Rafferty, 'Trouble with “status”: Competing models of British and North American public health nursing education and practice in British Malaya' in Hans Pols, Michele Thompson and John Harley Warner (eds), Translating the Body: Medical Education in Southeast Asia (9,000 words, Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, in press, 2016).
  • ‘Complaining about typhoid in 1930s Britain’ in Jonathan Reinarz and Rebecca Wynter (eds), Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine: Historical and Social Science Perspectives (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 184-201.
  • ‘Nursing the Tropics: Nurses as agents of imperial hygiene,’ Journal of Public Health, 35(2): 338-341, with Jessica Howell, Anne Marie Rafferty and Anna Snaith.
  • Bacteria in Britain, 1880-1939 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013).
  • ‘Nursing and the “Hearts and Minds” Campaign: Malaya, 1948-1958’ in Handbook on the Global History of Nursing (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 218-236, with Anne Marie Rafferty.
  • ‘Using bacteriology in elite hospital practice: London and Cambridge, 1880-1920,’ Social History of Medicine, 24 (2011), pp. 776-95.
  • ‘Re-reading Nightingale: Notes on Hospitals’, International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47 (2010), pp. 1063-5, with Anne Marie Rafferty.
  • ‘Icon or Iconoclast’ in Sioban Nelson and Anne Marie Rafferty (eds), Notes on Nightingale (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2010), pp. 130-41, with Anne Marie Rafferty.
  • ‘Historical Research’ in Kate Gerrish and Anne Lacey (eds), The Research Process in Nursing (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. 321-30, with Anne Marie Rafferty.
  • ‘"Natural", "Normal": Discourse and Practice at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, 1880-1920’, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, Volume 8, No. 1 (2007), Art. 17.
  • Reviews for Social History of Medicine, Bulletin for the History of Medicine, Medical History, BMJ Medical Humanities, Wellcome History.


Dr Wall currently contributes to the following modules:

  • 20248: Global History: The Modern World (Level 4)
  • 20134: Global History of Health and War (Level 6)
  • 20411: Dissertation (Level 6)
  • 20112: Animal Histories (Level 6)
  • 20746: Heritage Sources and Techniques (Level 7)
  • 20630: Practising Modern History (Level 7)

Postgraduate Supervision

I welcome enquiries from students interested in the history of medicine and health, in a British, colonial or international context.


BBC Television, Radio and Website
  • Interview for ‘Science Stories’, ‘Florence Nightingale: Statistician,’ BBC Radio 4, 18 May 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07bdg6b
  • ‘Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Inside Out’, BBC1, Polio in Hull, 1961, 29 February 2016.

  • Three contributions to BBC WW1 at Home for BBC Radio Humberside and BBC1 Look North, 27 and 28 February, and 11 November 2014, discussing medicine and the First World War, in particular the Red Cross hospital in Hull, where J.R.R. Tolkien was a patient, including http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01rngq6
  • Collaborative colonial nursing research developed with scriptwriter Vanessa Rosenthal, colleagues, and retired colonial nurses, for BBC Radio 4 plays, ‘Passages from Empire’, 3-7 November 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04nhqld
  • Consultancy for BBC History and Science, Knowledge and Learning Online, 2015.

App (Mobile devices)

Contributions to online resources

  • ‘Surplus Women: The First World War and Its Impact on Emigration, Work and Marriage’, First World War: New Perspectives Podcasts, University of Oxford Podcasts, released 29 October 2012, http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/surplus-women
  • ‘‘Surplus Women’: a legacy of World War One?’, World War 1 Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings, University of Oxford and JISC Open Educational Resource, posted 8 October 2012, http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/author/rwall/
  • JISC/Wikipedia World War One Editathon, British Library, 16 June 2012. Invited academic to the very first editathon linking academics with wikipedians. Worked with wikipedians to amend entries on Women and World War 1 to include Edith Cavell and begin a new entry on ‘Surplus Women’, https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/World_War_I/World_War_I_Editathon
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