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Screams of the Innocent: Animal Experiments before the 1900s

Talk | 4 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

Dogs have been companions to humans for thousands of years. However, until the second half of the nineteenth century, with the development of the pet industry and beginnings of animal rights, it was perfectly acceptable to allow extreme suffering in animals for medical experiments. One of the earliest accounts of dissecting a sentient animal was in 500 BC when Alcmaeon of Croton severed the optic nerves of live dogs to understand how it affected their vision. From the 1600s, as our understanding of physiology began to accelerate, they have played a vital role in shaping our understanding of our bodies and in developing treatments for a wide range of diseases. For a nation of dog lovers, we owe a huge debt to these animals and the part they have played in many ground-breaking discoveries.

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Secret Concert @ The Old Operating Theatre: Introducing DanAleX

Special Event | 9 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

DanAleX (real name Daniel Watts) is a Northern Irish born artist based in London. His unique style crosses between pop, electronic, RnB and Jazz. He is primarily a producer/trumpet player and can be seen gigging throughout the UK and Ireland. His first solo release, 'The Colour' features vocals from some of the UK’s rising stars and is available to download/stream now! When seen live, he brings a new energy to the songs that will get you moving!


Facing up to Difficulties: Anaesthesia and Facial Surgery in WWI

Special Event | 16 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

It’s been almost a century since Armistice Day and the end of the horrors of the Great War. Soldiers returned from the front bearing injuries and scars on their bodies. Among the many medical challenges during this period in time was to provide Anaesthesia for those with severe facial injuries. The ‘normal’ technique at the time was to use a wire frame mask held over the nose and mouth, but these facial injuries made it impossible to either use anaesthesia or to do surgery without it. New developments in anaesthesia and surgery were needed. The anaesthetists Ivan Magill (photo) and Stanley Rowbotham together with the surgeon Harold Gillies were the men who rose to the challenge.

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Film Night: Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Film night | 18 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

Boasting unforgettably eccentric performances from four of horror's most menacing stars, the third installment of Universal's classic Frankenstein series is a majestically macabre chiller. Baron Wolf von Frankenstein is intent on liberating his family name from disgrace by proving the legitimacy of his father's scientific work by reanimating the monster his predecessor killed.

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For the Love of Cheselden: Celebrating the Great 18th c. Surgeon

Special Event | 19 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

Three hundred years ago in 1718 ‘the Great’ William Cheselden joined St Thomas’ Hospital. Working initially as an Assistant Surgeon, from this time he honed his skills to improve the general surgical treatment of patients. He introduced innovative fast but accurate surgical procedures for lithotomy (the surgical removal of bladder stones); his patients had a 92% chance of survival; he radically undertook iridectomy, inserting an artificial iris to repair damaged eyes, as well as risky procedures on prisoners to restore their hearing.


October Half Term Events: Pomander Pumpkins

Workshop | 24 October, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

For hundreds of years it was believed that if you breathed in a horrible smell it would cause you to become very unwell. As a protection, people would carry a scented ball called a pomander, which would be held to their nose if they were entering into a smelly area. Join the Museum team this half- term and make your own Halloween themed ‘pumpkin’ pomander.

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The Night of the Body Snatchers

Talk | 25 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

Today, the body snatchers who crept into the burial grounds of Georgian London to dig up the dead for the anatomy schools of London seem like characters from a dark gothic story. But the body snatchers were not characters from fiction and the lucrative trade in human corpses was real. Hear the real story of London's Resurrection Men, and the anatomy schools they supplied and discover how the development of surgery in the Enlightenment lead to the business of selling the dead.


The Victorian Séance: From the Occult to the Gin Parlour

Event | 26 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

Although rituals to commune with the dead have been a part of the human experience reaching back through cultures and time immemorial, what has had the strongest foothold in our Western cultural imagination today is that of the Victorian séance. From its roots in the romantic era gothic imagination to fascinations with the boundaries of science, Victorian fringe exploration into the esoteric manifested itself by way of a variety of literary masterpieces and occult societies – the most famous of which was founded by the ‘Wickedest Man in the World’, Aleister Crowley.


Nerve, Knowledge, and Normality in Healthcare Serial Killing

Special Event | 31 October, 2018, 7:00 PM

​This talk will focus on how easy it can be for healthcare practitioners to move from saving lives to doing away with them. The focus will be on Dr Harold Shipman (1946-2004) who killed hundreds of his patients over a 28-year period. Wherever he worked in the NHS – casualty, hospital wards and general practice – Shipman could kill people without anyone apparently noticing. Causing death in the course of treatment, with the intention of deliberately killing people, is known as ‘clinicide’. How common is clinicide? Why does it happen? How can it be incorporated into normal healthcare ‘routines’? And how can it be detected? This talk considers what can be learnt from healthcare serial killers from home and abroad, from fiction and fact.

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Raising Dr Dodd: John Hunter’s Daring Attempt at Resurrecting the King’s Curate

Talk | 8 November, 2018, 7:00 PM

​In May 1777 the Reverend Dr William Dodd was sentenced to hang. As honorary chaplain to George III, Dodd had become the most fashionable clergyman of the age before his fall from graceover a silly attempt at forgery. A huge public campaign to save his neck, backed by the writer Samuel Johnson, was in vain and Dodd was taken to the gallows at Tyburn on 27 June. Yet even as he felt the noose around his neck, Dodd had not lost hope of being saved. For if Samuel Johnson’s words had failed him, Dodd fully believed that the talents of his friend John Hunter, the infamous surgeon and anatomist, would bring him back from the dead.

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Is There Anybody There? Spiritualism: From the Front into the Front Parlours

Talk | 11 November, 2018, 7:00 PM

Between 1914-1918, millions of people were suddenly forced to deal with a vast number of violent and unnatural deaths of young men. Britain became a nation of mourners. Bereavement and attempts to cope with mass death intensified as families and individuals sought all the help they could in dealing with personal loss. For many people, Spiritualism provided an outlet for their suffering and sorrow and offered an assurance that their dead loved ones lived on. This talk will explore how Spiritualism helped illuminate a world darkened by the catastrophe that we call today the Great War.

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Frankenstein 200

Talk | 20 November, 2018, 7:00 PM

Two hundred years ago Mary Wollstencraft Godwin Shelley (1797-1851) wrote the novel Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus, a phenomenal work that is often considered today to be the first science fiction novel. While the scientists of Mary’s era were keenly demonstrating the newly found electrical forces to include the re-animation of dead people, she gave Dr Frankenstein a similar fire. However his creation is monstrous and Mary led them both on a dance of vengeful destruction.

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Film Night: Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1967)

Film night | 22 November, 2018, 7:00 PM

A creepy, engrossing Hitchcock-like suspense story set in the seedy, seething atmosphere of a loveless Britain. An unscrupulous and mentally unstable professional medium talks her downtrodden husband into kidnapping a child so she can become celebrated in her field and financially rewarded. He knows his troubled wife walks a fine line between sanity and madness, but out of devotion succumbs to her demands. Things take a sinister turn as they become more and more unhinged under the imagined influence of their dead son.

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After Hours Victorian Surgery Demonstration

Special Event | 27 November, 2018, 7:00 pm

​This is a unique after hours event that will take you back in time to witness a mock Victorian surgical demonstration presented within the original architecture of the old operating theatre of St. Thomas’s Hospital dated to 1822. Before the advent of anaesthesia, an operation had to be swift. Without hand-washing or antiseptics, the chance of later infection was high. Upon entrance you will be welcomed to a glass of wine (included in the ticket price) and to spend some time looking around the museum.

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Tales from the Victorian Dissecting Room

Event | 6 December, 2018, 7:00 PM

Dissection formed a major part of a medical student's preparation for exams throughout the Victorian era. The Anatomy Act might have laid to rest the horrors of bodysnatching, but cultural unease about dissection remained and contributed to stereotypes of an arrogant medical profession. In this talk, Caroline Rance reveals how Victorian medical schools acquired and used cadavers, and how they sometimes ran into conflict with the wider community.


Film Night: A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Film night | 13 December, 2018, 7:00 PM

In one of the most beautiful and imaginative films ever made, Peter, a British Air Force pilot, bails out of his damaged plane and shares what he believes to be his last moments with Allied radio operator June. He survives, they meet and fall in love. After a mix-up in the afterlife, a divine messenger arrives to escort him to heaven to rectify his wrongful survival and Peter must argue for his life before a celestial court.

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