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Dr Michael Lambert

Michael Lambert

Office Hours:

My remote office hours are hosted by Teams and run Monday 10-11am and Thursday 2-3pm. If you wish to arrange an appointment within or outside these hours please do not hesitate to contact me via Teams or email.


I am a historian who uses sociological approaches to understand health, welfare and social policy-making and implementation in twentieth century Great Britain, and the impacts these have on people, society and the wider world. At the heart of this approach is inequalities and the role of power. My research uses qualitative and quantitative approaches underpinned by a range of archival, documentary and organisational records. I also have an interest in the role of place, concentrating on the Liverpool, Merseyside and the North West of England. I undertake teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate modules on social work, sociology, health and inequalities.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the dynamics of power, inequality and the state in the development of modern welfare services in twentieth century Britain. This extends to critically thinking about each of the ‘five giant evils’ of William Beveridge’s imagination: want, ignorance, disease, squalor and idleness.

My doctoral thesis, completed in the Department of History at Lancaster University in 2017, constisted of an analysis of street-, local-, and national-level decision-making around ‘problem families’ in the ‘golden age’ of the post-war welfare state from the 1940s to the 1970s. It was based around a geographical case study of the North West of England, stretching from urban Liverpool and Manchester to rural Lancashire and Cheshire, using the records of over 1,700 mothers and children who attended the Brentwood Recuperative Centre in Marple, Cheshire, from 1943 to 1970. My analysis linked social work with social policy and social theory to trace how families and children were identified as a “problem family” and subject to forms of state intervention.

I subsequently worked on the Governance of Health project led by Professor Sally Sheard at the University of Liverpool, which re-examined the politics of the National Health Service from 1948 to the present day. Centred on an analytical model of expertise and the place of money, medicine and management, I was responsible for developing a case study of Merseyside. This has drawn upon a myriad of archival sources from different health authorities, agencies and bodies to the Royal Colleges and the British Medical Association, personal and unpublished papers, documents from NHS England and the Department of Health, and included securing the deposit of a number of significant collections. I have undertaken over seventy oral history interviews for the research, and I am continuing to speak with those involved in planning and providing health services in Liverpool and across Merseyside.

My latest research serves to connect my existing work together by developing an inequalities perspective in relation to people, power, place and professionals.

Career Details

I gained a BA Hons First Class in Modern History and Politics from the University of Liverpool in 2008 where I was awarded a number of prizes for my academic involvement. These included the Sir Cyril Phillips Scholarship for outstanding intellectual contribution, the Edward Rathbone Prize for the highest mark in social and economic history and the Bibby University Undergraduate Scholarship all in 2007. I completed an MA with Distinction from the University of Sheffield in 2009

From 2009 to 2013 I worked for Kier Sheffield LLP in partnership with the local authority for three years as an out-of-hours duty officer. It was these firsthand experiences and challenges that led to an interest in the collaborative project.

I undertook my PhD thesis in the Department of History at Lancaster University from 2013 to 2017 entitled '"Problem families" and the post-war welfare state in the North West of England, c. 1943-74' which offers a critical and historical perspective on the development of family intervention policies.

From 2016 to 2017 I was a Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in Early Childhood Studies at Liverpool Hope University where I helped develop content around history and social policy concerning children and childhood.

In 2017 I took a position as a Wellcome-Trust Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Governance of Health at the University of Liverpool under the Principal Investigator Professor Sally Sheard. This research focuses on developing a regional perspective of the history of the National Health Service on Merseyside from 1948 to the present. I remain an Honorary Research Fellow of the research project.

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