Professor Bernard Harris

Social Work and Social Policy

Personal statement

My research is concerned with various aspects of the social history of health and welfare since circa 1700.  I have worked on a wide range of topics within this field, including work on the history of height, morbidity and mortality; unemployment and poverty; the relationship between statutory and voluntary welfare provision; and the origins and development of the British welfare state.

Prizes and awards

Fellow of the Acdemy of Social Sciences
PROSE Award for Excellence in Economics (2011)

More prizes and awards


I was awarded a BA (Hons) in History by the University of Cambridge in 1983 and obtained my PhD (also in History) from Birkbeck College, London, in 1989.

I held a Temporary Lectureship in the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Bristol from 1987 to 1991, when I joined the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton.  I joined the School of Applied Social Sciences (now the School of Social Work and Social Policy) at the University of Strathclyde in September 2013.


Growth before birth : the relationship between placental weights and infant and maternal health in early-twentieth century Barcelona
Harris Bernard, Galofre-Vila Gregori
Economic History Review (2020)
Not 'radical', but not 'kailyard' either : the Paisley Community Development Project reconsidered
Crow Graham, Rawcliffe Sue, Harris Bernard
Community Development Journal Vol 54, pp. 501-518 (2019)
Urban sanitation and the decline of mortality
Harris Bernard, Helgertz Jonas
The History of the Family Vol 24, pp. 207-226 (2019)
Parsimony and pauperism : poor relief in England, Scotland and Wales in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries
Harris Bernard
Journal of Scottish Historical Studies Vol 39, pp. 40-74 (2019)
The development of social policy, 1800-1945
Harris Bernard
Social policy (2019) (2019)
Mortality decline by cause in urban and rural England and Wales, 1851-1910
Hinde Andrew, Harris Bernard
The History of the Family Vol 24, pp. 377-403 (2019)

More publications

Research interests

I am currently working on a number of different topics, including the following:

  • Various issues associated with the use of anthropometric indicators to study the health and wellbeing of past populations
  • The history of sickness and morbidity
  • The impact of sanitary intervention on mortality decline (with Andrew Hinde, University of Southampton)
  • The comparative history of social policy in the different parts of the UK and the English-speaking world

Professional activities

Sanitary investment and the decline of mortality in England and Wales, 1817-1914
Evaluation Panel, Eudaimonia Institute, University of Oulu, Finland (Event)
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
HEDG Workshop on Public interventions, health and population in history and 8th Annual Workshop on Growth, History and Development
Keynote/plenary speaker
PhD viva
Queen's University, Belfast, Economic History Seminar
Invited speaker

More professional activities


Gender and morbidity: Individual sickness trajectories of women and men in Sweden during the first half of the 20th century (supported by the Swedish Research Council)
Harris, Bernard (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2022
Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Rawcliffe, Sue
Harris, Bernard (Principal Investigator) Rawcliffe, Sue (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 16-Jan-2019
Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Robbin, Melvina Rachael Valrete
MacIntyre, Gillian (Principal Investigator) Harris, Bernard (Co-investigator) Robbin, Melvina Rachael Valrete (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2013 - 01-Jan-2017

More projects


Social Work and Social Policy
Lord Hope Building

Location Map

View University of Strathclyde in a larger map