A surgical demonstration presented within the original architecture of the old operating theatre of St. Thomas’s Hospital of 1822.
Surgical Scars: A Murder Mystery Evening
Infanticide, the act of killing a baby or a very young child, remains an intensely complex and emotive subject. In Victorian London, the number of predominantly poor, unmarried women accused of murdering their babies dramatically increased. In light of this, public opinion varied towards mothers charged with murder. This talk will discuss Nineteenth Century ‘popular’ (often conflicting) attitudes towards infanticide, by examining the transcripts of court cases tried at London’s Central Criminal Court.
How a society views death and how it deals with the practical problem of what to do with its dead is very revealing. There are always Philosophical and attitudinal issues around disposal of the dead, but at least as important are the practical matters relating to Public Health and Finance.
Before 1832 dissection was a feared and hated punishment for murder. The 1832 Anatomy Act requisitioned instead the corpses of the poor, transferring the penalty from murder to poverty. The Anatomy Act contributed to the terrible fear of the Victorian workhouse and influences attitudes towards death even today. This talk by author Ruth Richardson analyses the subject drawing on many disciplines to explore the fundamental issues of folklore and science, life and death and the political struggles surrounding ownership of the body in the 19th century.
A talk focused on stories associated with medicine in the Age of Enlightenment and the Victorian Era.