Welcome to the project

Welcome to Addressing Health, a three year collaborative project funded by the Wellcome and involving a partnership between King’s College London, the University of Derby, Kingston University UCL, and The Postal Museum. The research focusses on exploring ill health and sickness rates in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office using a range of primary sources including pension records and death certificates. The Post Office was a national institution, employing over 167,000 people by 1900, a fifth of whom were women. Keeping the workforce fit and healthy, and ensuring that disease was not spread through the mail, was a key concern and for those reasons the Post Office provided free medical care and relatively generous rates of sick pay. The doctors employed by the Post Office, either on a permanent of part-time basis, were responsible for recording sickness absence and this information was collated when a worker applied for a pension.  Addressing Health uses the pension records held by The Postal Museum to explore the significance of person, place and time in relation to sickness rates and ill health, including the early onset of long term conditions that incapacitated workers and forced them to retire prematurely – a very common occurrence in the Victorian and Edwardian Post Office.