Precious Objects as Materia Medica

Cabinet of Curiosities | 24th September 2017

In the Secrets of Maister Alexis, translated into English by William Warde in 1558 we find on folio 69 (recto) a recipe for a distilled water which "is very good to make white and to beautifie the flesh, and to take away the wrinckles of the face". It concludes with the confident words “A thinge proved”.

Polyp Photo

Polyps: A Real Life Hydra in Miniature

Cabinet of Curiosities | 24th September 2017

Previously, I wrote a blog about the reintroduction of Rhinoplasty to European surgery in the early 19th century by Joseph Constantine Carpue. The idea of transplanting tissue had been neglected for such a long time in Europe, and I wanted to try to explore why that might be in that blog, as well as discuss Carpue’s achievement. However, while I was researching it, I came across many interesting tangents about transplantation and ideas about regeneration in history. Due to space, I didn’t elaborate then, but I wanted to come back to some of the subjects I touched on and give them their own space – the subjects of this blog, polyps, are one of those tangents.


Review: Quacks and Anaesthesia

Cabinet of Curiosities | 24th September 2017

Set in a time of change for medicine, Quacks also embraces the introduction of pain relief. Quacks is treating anaesthesia for effect, but there are also kernels of historic truth in this comedy.

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The Humoral Management of Blood: Cupping, Bloodletting and Staunching- PART 3

Museum Highlights | 21st September 2017

In 1853 within the Lancet* St Thomas’ trained surgeon Thomas Wakley (1795-1862) wrote a substantial obituary of Monson Hills Senior (1792-1853) the long serving Cupper to Guy’s Hospital: “In March, 1823, he was appointed surgery-man in Guy's Hospital, and after six months, having in this interval qualified himself by assiduity and dexterity, he was advanced to the situation of cupper...


The Humoral Management of Blood: Cupping, Bloodletting and Staunching- PART 1

Museum Highlights | 14th September 2017

​Blood and heart health is a central aspect of the normal monitoring and maintenance of our body function. Via medical analysis we know that a unit of blood is taken to be approximately one pint; that an average adult male can be estimated to have within their body about twelve pints of blood, a female nine pints; a healthy donor's blood has been analysed to replenish in about 24 hours, that red blood cells that are lost take longer and are totally replaced in a few weeks. Whole blood can be donated every eight weeks and we are aware that blood types must be matched in order to safely transfuse blood. Our blood is accepted as the body’s replenishing life force.

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