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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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Secret Concert @ The Old Operating Theatre: Introducing Russell Swallow

Special Event | 6 November, 2018, 6:30 pm

Russell Swallow is a musician, event organiser, music consultant and curator. He has worked with the following artists: Morcheeba, The Noisettes, Ghostpoet, Trevor Nelson, Omar, Waylayers, Delilah, Dan Sells (The Feeling), Izzy Bizu, Stealing Sheep, Kimberly Anne, Leddra Chapman, Sarah Walk, Sarah Howells (Bryde), Kal Lavelle, Anna Pancaldi, Liv Austen, Emma Ballantine, Fiona Bevan and many more.

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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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Skerryvore: A Tale of Terror

Special Event | 14-15 & 28-29 November, 2018

On 23rd December 1876, tragedy befell the lighthouse at Skerryvore. The three crewmen vanished, leaving a meal on the table and a fire in the grate. Only Mary was left. A little girl with nowhere to go. A witness without a memory. But tonight, 23 years later and via the miracle of mesmerism, Professor Barrett will return Mary to the eye of the storm. At last, she will tell all she knows about the tragedy at Skerryvore, finding redemption in the process. That is, if everything goes to plan…

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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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