Chris Sirrs

I am a historian of medicine and health, currently based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). I hold a BSc in Anthropology and an MA in the History of Medicine from University College London (UCL), and a PhD in Public Health and Policy from LSHTM. Originally from Leeds, West Yorkshire, I first joined LSHTM in 2011 as part of the recently formed Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre for the Social Sciences.

As a historian my interests are diverse, encompassing the history of occupational health and safety, risk, medicine and public health. I am also interested in new technology and the impact of digital research methods on historical scholarship. Many of my posts on this site focus on this subject.

Currently I am working as a Research Assistant on Dr Martin Gorsky’s Wellcome Investigator Award. This research focuses on the history of ‘health systems’ as the concept moved to the forefront of global health policy over the 20th century. You can find out more about this award at systemshistory.lshtm.ac.uk. My PhD thesis, which I completed in January 2016, explored the historical development of the British system of health and safety regulation between 1961 and 2001, including the origins and work of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It was kindly supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). My thesis is available open access from LSHTM Research Online.

I have publications in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. You can find a list of my current and forthcoming publications below. I also regularly present at seminars, workshops and conferences in the UK and internationally.

I live in Northamptonshire with my wife, Amy.


  • 2011–2016—PhD Public Health and Policy, London School of
    Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • 2009–2010—MA History of Medicine, UCL
  • 2004–2007— BSc (Hons) Anthropology, UCL

Download my full CV


  • [with Martin Gorsky] ‘World Health by Place: The Politics of International Health System Metrics, 1924–c.2010’, Journal of Global History (forthcoming).
  • ‘Health and Safety in the British Regulatory State: The HSC, HSE and the Management of Occupational Risk’. PhD thesis, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.17037/PUBS.02548737.
  • ‘Risk, Responsibility and Robens: The Transformation of the British System of Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, 1961–1974’, in Tom Crook and Mike Esbester (eds), Governing Risk in Modern Britain, 1800–2000, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
  • ‘Accidents and Apathy: The Construction of the ‘Robens Philosophy’ of Occupational Safety and Health Regulation in Britain, 1961–1974′, Social History of Medicine 2015, doi: 10.1093/shm/hkv068.
  • Soraya Boudia and Nathalie Jas (eds), Toxicants, Health and Regulation since 1945, Christopher Sirrs, Social History of Medicine 2013; doi: 10.1093/shm/hkt084.

Recent seminars and conferences

  • August 2017, European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Conference 2017, Bucharest, Romania (forthcoming).
  • July 2017, University of Liverpool, UK.
  • May 2017, University of Warwick, UK.
  • April 2017, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Bielefeld, Germany.
  • February 2017, University of Huddersfield, UK.
  • December 2016, Institute for the History of Medicine, Berlin, Germany.
  • July 2016, Society for the Social History of Medicine Conference, University of Kent, UK.
  • June 2016, Institute for the History of Medicine, Berlin, Germany.
  • March 2, 2016, Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK. More >>

Full list of seminars and conferences.

Object of the Month blog archive

These blogs were written when I worked at Wellcome Collection, a museum and venue in Central London dedicated to exploring the connections between medicine, life and art.

You can listen to some tours I gave at Wellcome Collection online, on Soundcloud.