Dr Gareth Millward

Dr Gareth Millward

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Research Fellow

Contact details

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Gareth Millward is a historian specialising in post-war British health policy. His current research is part of the Border Crossings project led by John Mohan on the place of voluntary action in the National Health Service. He has previously worked on histories of disability policy, vaccination policy and the intersection between work, social security and health care in ‘sick note’ policy.


PhD in the History of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2014

MSc in the Social History of Medicine, University of Warwick, 2009

BA (Hons) History, University of Warwick, 2007

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Gareth Millward specialises in the history of the British welfare state. Much of this work has concentrated on the history of health and social security related policy, using the debates around public health and capacity for work to investigate the shifting attitudes of various welfare state actors across the late-twentieth century and into the twenty-first. This includes government departments, politicians, voluntary organisations, businesses, trades unions, citizens, the media, the medical profession and much more besides.

He wrote his PhD thesis on the debates around social security for (and organisations of) disabled people from the 1960s to the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act. During this time he took a secondment to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology to write briefing on the history behind testing for eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits.

He has also written a book on vaccination policy since the 1940s and the manuscript of a monograph ‘Sick Note Britain: A History of the Welfare State’ is currently under consideration by Oxford University Press.

The contemporary nature of his research means Gareth makes use of internet archives to tell the history of Britain in the era of the World Wide Web. He has published on these methodologies, using the MMR vaccine crisis at the turn of the millennium as a case study.


Research interests

His core interest is the British welfare state, especially (but not limited to) 1948-present. Within this, he has particular in interests in:

  • Voluntary action in health care
  • Sickness and work
  • Vaccination
  • Disability

He is also interested in the history of the internet and the use of web archives in qualitative history methods.

Current projects

I am a research fellow on the Border Crossings project.


Millward, G. (2019), Vaccinating Britain: Mass Vaccination and the Public since the Second World War., Manchester: Manchester University Press

Mold, A., Clark, P., Millward, G. and Payling, D. (2019) Placing the Public in Public Health in Postwar Britain., London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Elizabeth, H., Millward, G. and Mold, A. (2019). “Injections while you dance”: Press advertisement and poster promotion of the polio vaccine to British publics, 1956-1962., Cultural and Social History, 16: 315-336.

Millward, G. (2018), A history with web archives, not a history of web archives: A history of the British measles-mumps-rubella vaccine crisis, 1998-2004., In: Brügger, N., Milligan, I. (eds) SAGE Handbook of Web History. Sage: Thousand Oaks., pp. 464-478.

Gorsky, M. and Millward, G. (2018). Resource allocation for equity in the British National Health Service 1948-89: An Advocacy Coalition Framework analysis of the “RAWP”., Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, 43: 69-108.

Millward, G. (2017). “A matter of commonsense”: The Coventry poliomyelitis epidemic 1957 and the British public., Contemporary British History, 31: 384-406.

Millward, G. (2017). A Disability Act? The Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979 and the British Government’s Response to the Pertussis Vaccine Scare., Social History of Medicine, 2: 429-447.

Millward, G. (2015). Social security and the early disability movement – Expertise, disability, and the government, 1965-77., Twentieth Century British History, 26: 274-297.

View all publications in research portal