About me

I can be contacted on helen.blackman@workmail.com

1972: I was born in a south west London suburb. It’s all a bit normal, suburban, 1970s/ 80s childhood really. Bog-standard comprehensives; fingerless gloves; Now That’s What I Call Music vols 1,2 and 3; Betamax videos; Angel Delight; fondues; Twister and Kerplunk all featured at times. I started horse riding when I was about eight and mainly scrounged rides in exchange for working at riding schools—which meant very little riding and a lot of mucking out.

1990: I spent a year training to be a British Horse Society Assistant Instructor. Actually slightly less middle-class gap year than it sounds. Again, lots of mucking out.

1991–1994: I studied History and the History of Scientific Thought at Leeds University. Since I had never wanted to pick one or other of the two cultures, history of science seemed perfect and I graduated with a first.

1994–1996: I worked for the Royal Parks Police training police horses. Sharp-eyed fact fans will notice that this did not directly relate to my degree, but that’s what happens when you graduate after the Tories have been governing for 15 years.

1996–1997: I studied for an MA (econ) in the History and Social Anthropology of Science, Technology and Medicine, graduating with a distinction.

1997–2001: I wrote my PhD thesis on the history of the reproductive sciences in Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

2001–2004: I undertook a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral position in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

2004 I bought my first horse, and my life changed completely. And oddly enough I became an awful lot poorer overnight.

2004–2006: I took up a research position at Exeter University.

2006–2007: I was a temporary lecturer in modern British history at Cardiff University

Abstracts for some of the publications I produced during this time are available here:




2007–2010: I worked in the health care sector. I finally resigned from a clinical audit position in November 2010, after discovering that working in health care can have distinctly adverse effects on your health, but more of that later in the blog. Suffice it to say that getting out of health care is the best thing I’ve ever done for my own health.


11 thoughts on “About me

  1. My, you have been busy. At school, I always knew that you had a passion for all things equine. Your blog really makes me laugh.

    I shall be emailing you soon.

    Take care and all the best for 2011.

  2. Good grief.
    All of a sudden, I find that we not only have large numbers of friends in common, in several cities, but we both published something in the same issue of a scholarly journal. (Yours was a review of a book on hermaphroditism.)
    GU Talk could separate as much as it united.

    1. Doesn’t surprise me! I fudged some details on GUT and there are a few people on there who have said stuff that’s made me think ‘I know someone who knows you…’
      Still, so many people are ‘out’ now that it’s gone!
      I was never a Havenite though 😉

  3. Well, I first met Jonathan Barry in 1979 and Adrian Wilson in 1980, for example.

    Big world, innit?

  4. Hello,

    Sorry to interrupt. I am chocked by the closure of the Guardian talk.

    I would like to ask you if you (or David) know where everybody is ?

    This is a sad year; I just lost a lot of virtual friends.
    My posting name was Dimitri 870212


    1. Dimitri – most people have gone to NotTheTalk. First everyone went to TheGraun but that is also closing soon. There are links in the comments and on the blog but I’ll post one later if you can’t find them.

  5. Regard this as an opportunity, dimitri, not a loss. Free yourself from the similacrum of life provided by GU Talk.

  6. Interesting about your comments re: getting out of health care. I have several siblings who work in health care: doctor, hospital pharmacist, receiptionist at a pediatric oncology ward, IT at mental health care facility, etc.

    My doctor-sister is prone to colds…she does get it from her patients.

  7. “2004 I bought my first horse, and my life changed completely. And oddly enough I became an awful lot poorer overnight.”

    That sounds a lot like what I could’ve written about 10 years earlier about bicycles. I live in very horsey country about 50 miles south of London, and though I don’t ride one myself, I run into them a lot in the lanes, and am always careful to slow right down – to be honest, they scare me a little!

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