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.
Join your guides, Romany and Sam, as we pay homage to the fearless women interred in Abney Park cemetery – pioneers who ripped up the rule books and whose stories are inspiring, surprising, and poignant. The nurse whose two-fingered salute to bureaucracy invoked the wrath (and later respect) of Florence Nightingale; the Suffragette incarcerated and force-fed in Holloway Prison; and the aeronaut who risked life and limb navigating her hot air balloon above England’s skyline: these women both suffered and soared in making their marks in their landscapes and ours.
Best-selling author Wendy Moore talks about her new book, The Mesmerist: the society doctor who held Victorian London spellbound, which tells the story of Elliotson’s battle to spread the word about mesmerism – hypnotism as we know it today – in the face of furious opposition.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is organising two fantastic events for London History Day: a walk, "The Nests of Satan", and an after hours talk, "The Courage of Victorian Surgeons and Their Patients." Join our knowledgeable staff for these events.
LGBTQ+ people have always been part of London’s history, but their lives are only partially reflected in the historical record. Some groups of people are almost entirely absent, and others only appear when they transgress the laws or norms of their time. Starting with a curios case of 14th century prostitution this talk will chart the presence and absence of LGBTQ+ lives in the archive. Along the way we will meet judges, moralists and medics as well as lovers, swashbucklers and celebrities.
During the Middle Ages, many monasteries had an infirmary and a hospital where they treated the sick. This was also the case for the Augustinian Priory of St Mary Overie, later known as the Priory of St Thomas Beckett that was located where Southwark Cathedral now stands. This Priory was destroyed by a fire in 1212, and soon afterwards the monastic community obtained a new site on the east side of what is now Borough High Street. St Thomas' then provided shelter for the sick, the needy and the dying in its hospital for the next 650 years.