• L0011301 Insane patient in a strait-waistcoat.

    Setting the record straight: maniac or sick man?


    Researcher Jon Mitchell searched the Retreat archives in pursuit of John Summerland, an asylum patient whose story figures in histories of madness and mental health. What he found was a lost reputation. Like so many undergraduates, the first time I came… Continue reading

  • M0008974 Hogarth's The Rake's Progress; scene at Bedlam.

    Madness and civilization: a lecture in 45 tweets


    Couldn’t make it to Professor Andrew Scull’s terrific Porter Lecture on madness and civilization at Wellcome Collection? The helpful people at the History of Human Sciences Journal tweeted a ‘blow by blow’ account which they’ve storified into a handy guide… Continue reading

  • Front cover of 'The Queen's Gift'

    Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People


    Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease that has been around since antiquity. It has gone by many names: phthisis (the original Greek name), consumption, the white plague – and many treatments have been offered over the years. One example of a… Continue reading

  • Front cover of 'Women, Plumbers and Doctors', 1885, New York

    Women, plumbers and doctors: sanitation in the home


    On World Water Day the book Women, Plumbers and Doctors caught my eye. It seems an unusual title for a book from 1885, but when you turn the front cover over it becomes apparent that this quirky title is a manual of household… Continue reading

  • V0010955 A doctor and footman hurling pudding at each other in an att

    Happy to be healthy


    Lots of people are talking about happiness, and not just because 20 March is International Day of Happiness. Links between health and happiness have been around for a long time, as this 18th century cartoon shows. In the drawing, a… Continue reading

  • spotlightEB-feat

    Spotlight: explaining the English Sweat


    The Sweating Sickness was a new phenomenon in later 15th and 16th century Europe, recognised by contemporaries as being distinctively different from the plague and other epidemic diseases. The illness was almost exclusively confined to England, and was soon known… Continue reading

  • L0017537 View of printed catalogues in Wellcome Library

    Finding full-text articles just got easier!


    If you’re interested in finding full-text online journal articles for your research, we are trialing a new search function in the Library catalogue. It allows you to search across more of our e-journals simultaneously than ever before. When searching the… Continue reading

  • N0029315 Warning about passive smoking on cigarette packet

    Ashes to Ashes: doctors debate smoking


    To mark national No Smoking Day, historian Professor Tilli Tansey draws on first hand accounts of how the British medical community responded to emerging evidence of the connection between smoking and health in the 1950s. The link between good health… Continue reading

  • hygieia-feat

    Hygieia’s Handmaids: women health and healing


    On International Women’s Day (8 March) we’re looking back to a Wellcome exhibition called Hygieia’s Handmaids: women health and healing. The catalogue for the exhibition, which has been digitised and is available online,  makes a useful resource for the history of… Continue reading

  • Attitudes Passionnelle. Extase. Photograph by Paul Regnard, 1876 from Iconographie photographique de la Salpetriere. Wellcome Images V0019694

    Disability and sex: a history of suppression


    This is an extract from an article first published in the Wellcome Trust online journal Mosaic: the science of life. It is republished here under a Creative Commons licence. Disabled people’s sexuality has been suppressed, exploited and, at times, destroyed… Continue reading