Kate McAllisterCatherine McAllister (Kate)

Title: Epidemic Encephalitis and the intersection of general and mental health provision in Sheffield, 1917-1951
Period: Post 1800
Funded by: The Wellcome Trust
Start year: 2018
Email: camcallister1@sheffield.ac.uk

Primary: Dr Chris Millard | Secondary: Professor Adrian Bingham

Semester Two 2019/20 Office Hour: Mondays 16:00 - 17:00 (Jessop West 2.01a)


Academic background

  • MA in Historical Research, University of Sheffield, 2017
  • BA Hons in History, University of Liverpool, 2015

Research topic

Parity of esteem between mental and physical health has become a rhetorical keystone of twenty first century political manifestos and health policies. Nonetheless, mental health services are defined by long waiting times and underfunding, challenging the idea that parity has been achieved. This PhD thesis will situate this agenda within the history of health care provision in Britain, demonstrating that although this concept has shaped policy for over a century, implementing it in practice has recurrently failed. To navigate the complexities of this issue, focus will be on the outbreak of Epidemic Encephalitis in Sheffield which had high incidence rates throughout this national epidemic during the 1920s and 1930s. Epidemic Encephalitis was characterised by mental and physical symptoms, and transcended the boundaries between these separate medical approaches. This thesis will present a practical analysis of how this condition was studied and treated by Professor Arthur Hall from the University of Sheffield and his contemporaries, which will demonstrate that despite progressive legislation, mental and physical health care remained institutionally and therapeutically separate. In revealing how and why parity of esteem failed in practice in this city and beyond, this research will offer insights for current policymakers, medical practitioners and the public.

Affiliations and Awards


  • Doctoral Studentship in Humanities and Social Science funded by the Wellcome Trust