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The Researcher’s View

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  • An epoch in the history of typography

    29/10/2015

    In the preface to The Anatomy of Sleep Jamaican–Scottish physician Edward Binns (1804–1851) claims to have written the first ever treatise on “procuring sleep at will, by directing the activity of the cerebral organs”. But that isn’t the only first… Continue reading

  • Doctors and the invention of the English seaside

    20/10/2015

    How did the so-called ‘sea cure’ supplant the taking of waters at fashionable spas for Georgian England’s worried well? This was the question I sought answers for in the Wellcome Library’s collections. There I found several intriguing medical tracts, not… Continue reading

  • Women pharmacists demand the vote

    13/10/2015

    On Ada Lovelace Day, pharmacy historian Briony Hudson discovers the pioneering role of women pharmacists in the women’s suffrage movement. In April 1913 Bernard Gill submitted an article for publication to the Pharmaceutical Journal that arrived in a charred envelope.… Continue reading

  • Doctor! The heart’s stopped!

    22/09/2015

    Cardiac arrest is a popular narrative device in TV and film. However, on screen, it is shown to have much better odds of survival than in real life. During fictional hospital resuscitations, the dramatic significance of eye contact between team… Continue reading

  • Unearthing the health of Victorian London

    05/08/2015

    What can you learn from old bones? Rachel Ives explains what they tell us about the lives and deaths of the dead, and how osteologists use historical sources such as the Medical Officer of Health reports to confirm their findings… Continue reading

  • Mental health history ventures out of the asylum

    09/07/2015

    On 26 June the Wellcome Trust played host to a symposium on the history of 20th century mental healthcare in Britain – Keeping Mental Health in Mind. Part of motivation for the event, organized by the Wellcome Library and the… Continue reading

  • Stranger than a wolf

    02/06/2015

    Wellcome Images recently acquired a photographic series depicting the gradual creation of a human head in clay.  They form part of an art project called Stranger than a Wolf by artist Heather Spears. For the project sculptor Ellie Scheepens was… Continue reading

  • Test of an expert witness

    27/05/2015

    When in 1836 James Marsh announced his test for the presence of arsenic, the news was greeted with huge relief. Unknown numbers of deaths, it was feared, were being attributed to diseases such as dysentery or food poisoning when the… Continue reading

  • The care of pauper lunatics in Glasgow

    08/04/2015

    Gartnavel Royal Hospital is one of the institutions in our project to digitise mental health archives selected from across the UK, and make them freely available through the Wellcome Library catalogue. As the Gartnavel records begin to appear online, Archivist … Continue reading

  • Setting the record straight: maniac or sick man?

    27/03/2015

    Researcher Jon Mitchell searched the Retreat archives in pursuit of John Summerland, an asylum patient whose story figures in histories of madness and mental health. What he found was a lost reputation. Like so many undergraduates, the first time I came… Continue reading