Portrait of Dr Claire Jones

Dr Claire Jones

Senior Lecturer
Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities


Dr Claire L. Jones is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Medicine and Deputy Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities. 

Claire completed her PhD in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science at the University of Leeds in collaboration with the Thackray Medical Museum in 2010, before returning in 2012 to become the new Director of the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Leeds. Her former roles include Learning and Access Officer at the Infirmary Museum, University of Worcester, and Research Associate at King's College London. She is visiting fellow at the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, and the Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science and the University of Leeds. She joined the University of Kent in 2016. 

Research interests

Claire’s research centres on the cultural, economic and social history of medicine and health in Britain post 1750, with particular emphases on the relationship between medicine and commerce, and the ways in which this relationship affects professional social structures, consumption and material culture. She has published numerous articles on this topic and her first monograph on the development of the British surgical instrument industry titled The Medical Trade Catalogue in Britain, 1870-1914 was published in 2013 by Pickering & Chatto. Her recent edited collection on prosthetic technologies titled Rethinking Modern Protheses in Anglo-American Commodity Cultures, 1820-1939 was published in 2017 by Manchester University Press. Her current book project explores the commercialisation of contraceptives in Britain from the late 19th century.

She has held grants as both Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator from the Academy of Medical Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Scientific Instrument Society, and the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. She has also developed public engagement projects with a number of non-academic partners, including Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds Museums and Galleries, and the Florence Nightingale Museum.


Claire teaches on aspects of the history and the social and cultural contexts of medicine and health in society from the mid-18th century to the present day. 


Claire welcomes enquiries from prospective research students interested in the history of medicine post-1750, particularly those whose interests lie in medical technologies, consumption and material culture. 



  • Jones, C., Dupree, M., Hutchison, I., Gardiner, S. and Rafferty, A. (2018). Personalities, Preferences and Practicalities: Educating Nurses in Wound Sepsis in the British Hospital, 1870 – 1920. Social History of Medicine [Online] 31:577-604. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkx016.
    The history of nursing education has often been portrayed as the subordination of nursing to medicine. Yet, as scholars are increasingly acknowledging, the professional boundaries between medicine and nursing were fluid in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when both scientific knowledge and systems of nurse training were in flux. Through its focus on the role of medical practitioners in educating nurses in wound sepsis at four British hospitals between 1870 and 1920, this article attempts to further unite histories of medicine and nursing. It demonstrates that, in this period of uncertainty, the ideas and practices relating to antisepsis, asepsis and bacteriology disseminated to nursing probationers depended on the individual instructor. In demonstrating the localised nature of nursing education, this article argues that further analyses of clinical problems like wound sepsis may enable historians to more clearly identify the importance of professional collaboration within the hospital.
  • Jones, C. (2016). A Barrier to Medical Treatment? British Medical Practitioners, Medical Appliances and the Patent Controversy, 1870 – 1920. British Journal for the History of Science [Online] 49:601-625. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S000708741600114X.
    From the late nineteenth century onwards there emerged an increasingly diverse response to escalating patenting activity. Inventors were generally supportive of legislation that made patenting more accessible, while others, especially manufacturers, saw patenting culture as an impediment. The medical profession claimed that patenting represented ‘a barrier to medical treatment’ and was thus detrimental to the nation's health, yet, as I argue, the profession's development of strict codes of conduct forbidding practitioners from patenting resulted in rebellion from some members, who increasingly sought protection for their inventions. Such polarized opinions within the medical trade continue to affect current medical practice today.
  • Jones, C. (2016). Under the Covers? Commerce, Contraceptives and Consumers in England and Wales, 1880–1960. Social History of Medicine [Online] 29:734-756. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkv059.
    This article provides a much needed commercial perspective to the gradual growth in consumption of birth control appliances in England and Wales between 1880 and 1960. By drawing on underutilized parliamentary sources and the hitherto neglected business records of manufacturers, vendors and distributors, this new approach reveals that consumption patterns were more varied in terms of class, gender and geographical location than scholars have generally recognized. In particular, its analysis of the production, promotion and distribution of birth control appliances alongside medical goods intended for domestic use during this period demonstrates the importance of consumption both among and beyond the primary married couple of the household. In doing so, this article aims to provide the medical historian with a new analytic tool for investigating neglected but potentially important sites of medical decision making.
  • Jones, C. (2013). How to Make A University History of Science Museum: Lessons From Leeds. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44:716-724.
  • Jones, C. (2013). Instruments of Information: The Rise of the Medical Trade Catalog in Britain, 1750-1914. Technology & Culture 54:563-599.
  • Jones, C. (2012). Re-Reading Medical Trade Catalogs: The Use of Professional Advertising in British Medical Practice, 1870-1914. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 86:361-393.


  • Jones, C. (2013). The Medical Trade Catalogue in Britain, 1880 - 1914. London: Pickering and Chatto.

Book section

  • Jones, C. (2017). Surgical Instruments, History and Historiography. In: Schlich, T. ed. The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Surgery. Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95260-1_12.
  • Anderson, J. (2017). Separating the surgical and commercial: Space, prosthetics and the First World War. In: Jones, C. ed. Rethinking Modern Prostheses in Anglo-American Commodity Cultures, 1820–1939. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
  • Jones, C. (2017). Modern Prostheses in Anglo-American Commodity Cultures: An Introduction. In: Jones, C. ed. Rethinking Modern Prostheses in Anglo-American Commodity Cultures, 1820-1939. Manchester University Press. Available at: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526101426/.


  • Jones, C. (2019). Review of Alan Mackintosh, The Patent Medicines Industry in Georgian England. Annals of Science [Online]:230-231. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00033790.2019.1566830.
  • Jones, C. (2018). Review of Allan J. Formicola, Columbia College of Dental Medicine, 1916–2016: A Dental School on University Lines. History of Education [Online] 48:415-416. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2018.1460405.
  • Jones, C. (2012). Review of Samuel J. M. M. Alberti, Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth Century Britain. The Historian [Online] 74:603-604. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6563.2012.00328_40.x.
    Morbid Curiosities: Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain. By Samuel J. M. M. Alberti. (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. xiii, 238. $99.00.)
  • Jones, C. (2011). Review of Takahiro Ueyama, Health in the Marketplace: Professionalism, Therapeutic Desires, and Medical Commodification in Late-Victorian London. Social History of Medicine [Online] 24:850-851. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkr112.
  • Jones, C. (2010). Review of J. K. Brown, Health and Medicine on Display: International Expositions in the United States, 1876-1904. British Journal for the History of Science [Online] 43:493-494. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007087410001123.
  • Jones, C. (2009). Review of Roy Church & Tilly Tansey, Burroughs Wellcome & Co: Knowledge, Trust & Profit in the British Pharmaceutical Industry, 1880-1940. British Journal for the History of Science [Online] 42:288-289. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007087409002295.


  • Jones, C. (2018). Septic Subjects: Infection Control and Occupational Risk in British Hospitals, c. 1870-1970. In: Rafferty, A. M., Dupree, M. and Bound Alberti, F. eds. Germs and Governance: The Past, Present and Future of Hospital Infection, Prevention and Control. Manchester University Press.
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