Consultancy as a Career in Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Britain

Mackie, Robin and Roberts, Gerrylynn (2020). Consultancy as a Career in Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Britain. Ambix, 67(3) pp. 214–233.



This paper examines the continuing role of consultants within the profession of chemistry in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Consultants were a prominent part of the profession in the late nineteenth century, but were overtaken in numerical terms by chemists working in academia, government and industry in the first half of the twentieth century. The paper demonstrates, however, that numbers later stabilised and then goes on to examine the characteristics of those chemists who worked as consultants as compared to the wider chemical community. It argues that the survival of consultancy is best explained in terms of a number of differing models of consultancy work. Whilst for some chemists, consultancy was their main occupation, for others it was a phase in their careers or a secondary occupation alongside another post. The continuing value of consultancy work was related to its very versatility.

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