Professor Borsay, who worked at Swansea University from 2002 until 2014 and tragically passed away last week, will be remembered not just as a brilliant historian but as a much-loved friend and colleague.
Professor Borsay came to Swansea University in 2002 as a Reader before being appointed to take up a newly-established Chair in Medical Humanities in 2003. She took charge of the BSc in Medical Humanities as well as a taught MA in the same field. Those who have worked with her in her time at Swansea know of her enthusiasm for her subject, and especially her passion for history of healthcare. She manifested a determined commitment to the traditional scholarly virtues of thoroughness, diligence and accuracy in her work and her shockingly premature death is a terrible loss to the profession.
Professor Anne Borsay was a prolific and respected historian whose influence was widely felt amongst almost anyone working on the history of medicine. She examined institutions of medicine with critical detail, including the exhaustive study of the Bath General Infirmary Medicine and Charity in Georgian Bath (1999) which shone light onto the social structures of voluntary hospitals. She also produced countless articles and chapters on the history of hospitals and nursing, including editing the collection Nursing and Midwifery in Britain since 1700 (2012) with Billie Hunter.
Borsay was in particular a pioneer of disability history, contributing a huge wealth of ideas and studies to what is now a flourishing field of history. Her work looked at changes in social, cultural and political attitudes towards disability, bringing out the importance of recording the often-ignored place of disabled people within history. Her definitive book, Disability and Social Policy in Britain since 1750: A History of Exclusion (2005), received acclaim and attention both for its historical detail and scope, and its relevance to the continued struggle for disability rights. It remains a crucial text for any disability historian today. Since its publication, Borsay wrote regularly about other aspects of disability history and co-edited a volume with Pamela Dale, Disabled Children: Contested Caring (2012).
Professor Borsay contributed consistently to societies and conferences and organised the Research Group for Health, History and Culture at Swansea University. Borsay taught on many aspects of the history of medicine at Swansea University; her students and those lucky to have her as a PhD supervisor will remember how tirelessly she worked to ensure their success.
Her final major project was the 5-year Wellcome Trust-funded Disability and Industrial Society: A Comparative Cultural History of British Coalfields, 1780-1948. She led a team of historians from across Britain to explore the history of disability in the coal industry, aiming to re-examine the historical relationship between disability and industrialisation. The project continues in memory of Professor Borsay, who will be remembered not just as a brilliant historian but as a much-loved friend and colleague.
Professor Borsay's family welcome donations in lieu of flowers to the following: Meurig Ward Equipment Fund, Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth c/o Gwilym C Price Son and Daughter Dresden House, 1-2 College Street, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 7DY
- Wednesday 3 September 2014 12.03 BST
- Wednesday 3 September 2014 12.27 BST
- College of Human and Health Sciences