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Dr Susan Hawkins

Project manager, Centre for Local History Studies, Kingston University.

Dr  Susan  Hawkins Areas of expertise

Find out more about Dr Susan Hawkins


Dr Hawkins works as a historical researcher on several projects within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She gained her doctorate in history, on nursing in Victorian London, at Kingston University in 2007. She managed the Great Ormond Street Hospital Victorian Patient Admissions database project run by the university's Centre for Local History studies, and is currently managing this project's extension to cover three further children's hospitals. She is also working on a three year oral history project, Museum Lives, jointly run by the Natural History Museum and Kingston University's School of Humanities, and which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her research interests include nursing in Victorian England; women's increasing participation in the workplace in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the development of health care provision for children, and the use of archival material to generate life histories of ordinary working women. She is also very interested in using IT to open up archival material, making such important historical evidence much more easily available and accessible to historians, and is involved in creating databases and designing websites which present such information in a much more user-friendly way.

In 2010 her book "Nursing and Women's Labour in the Nineteenth Century - the Quest for Independence" was published. Nursing and Women's Labour in the Nineteenth century This book presents a new examination of Victorian nurses which challenges commonly-held assumptions about their character and motivation.  Uniquely, the study views nursing through an economic lens, as opposed to the more usual vocational focus.



Year gained Subject
2007 PhD History of Nursing (Kingston University).
2002 MSc History of Science, Technology and Medicine (Imperial College/University College London).
1977 BSc Hons Pharmacology (Manchester University).

Career Highlights

Year Position held
2008 - Oral history researcher, "Museum Lives" Project, Kingston University and the Natural History Museum.
2003 - 2004 Project coordinator - St George's Hospital Oral History Project.
2003 - 2004 Archive assistant, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
2003 - Project researcher and manager, 19th Century Hospital Records Pilot Project (Kingston University).



"Nursing and Women's Labour in the Nineteenth Century - the quest for independence". 


Women's History Review -  "From maid to matron: nursing as a route to social advancement in nineteenth century England"  - (in press - due 2010).

Media Highlights

In November 2011 Dr Hawkins appeared on a BBC 2 television programme talking about the perils of scarlet fever in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.  "Heir Hunters" is a series following the work of probate detectives looking for distant relatives of people who have died without making a will.




Conference Highlights

Dr Hawkins is a seasoned conference speaker, both nationally and internationally.

Professional Body Membership

UK Centre for History of Nursing and Midwifery: member of the Steering Committee from 2007.

Women's History Network: elected to Steering Committee, and Editorial Board of Women's History Magazine, 2008.

Member Oral History Society

Member Social History Society

Member British Society for the History of Paediatrics and Child Health.


Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us