Solitude has long been perceived as perilous to mind and body.

We explore this history and its relationship to present-day concerns about the health risks of social isolation and loneliness.


Our project examines health-related aspects of solitude in Britain from the late seventeenth century to the present.

We ask how experiences of solitude have changed over the centuries and how these changes have affected individuals and society.

Our research is hosted by Queen Mary University of London and supported by an Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust: ‘Pathologies of Solitude, 18th-21st Century’.

Logo: Queen Mary University of London      Logo: Wellcome Trust

Logo: Queen Mary University of London      Logo: Wellcome Trust


We do multidisciplinary research on solitude and social isolation. Our interrelated research themes explore changes in people’s understandings and experiences of solitude and their impact on health and wellbeing.

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We run a variety of events based on our research, from lectures and seminar series to reading groups and film screenings.

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Next Event:

Seminar – Hannah Proctor ‘Lonesome babies in a collective society: Geoffrey Gorer’s ‘swaddling hypothesis’ and postwar theories of Russian national character’

Hannah Proctor from the University of Strathclyde will present the fifth paper in our 2021/22 seminar series, discussing Cold War theories of the 'Soviet mind'.