Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Research group
  3. Biography - Simon Jarrett

Biography - Simon Jarrett

I have spent many years working in projects with people with learning disabilities and people with autism. For the last 16 years I have been advising local authorities and NHS organisations on improving and setting up services.

I have a strong interest in the history of learning disability, particularly the pre-asylum era. I have just completed an MA in the History of Ideas at Birkbeck, University of London, including a dissertation called The moral economy of idiocy in the Old Bailey in the long eighteenth century. I am now working on a PhD, also at Birkbeck, called The road to Dr Down’s idiot asylum; the creation of the idea of intellectual disability c.1700-1867.

I was the web writer for an English Heritage web resource called Disability in Time and Place and am writing a book, also for English Heritage, on the history of disability in Britain. I write a column for the magazine Community Living on representations of learning disability in books, films and other media.



  • BBC History Magazine, vol. 13, no. 10, October 2012, pp. 76-81 ‘Where history happened’. ‘A history of disability: Charlotte Hodgman speaks to Simon Jarrett, contributor to an English Heritage Project on the subject, about eight places related to society’s changing attitudes to disability history’.


Forthcoming publications

  • ‘Brave poor things? A history of disability in Britain’, English Heritage (forthcoming 2015).

Contact us

About the Group

If you woud like to get in touch with the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group, please contact:

Liz Tilley 
Chair of the Social History of Learning Disability (SHLD) Research Group
School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

About the website

If you have any feedback or would like to report a problem with the website, please contact