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  • Wound man in 1495 printed book.

    Wound man Part 2: afterlives

    18/08/2016

    The remarkable manuscript image of the wound man did not die with the medieval medical world that created it, finding a rich afterlife in the Renaissance and beyond. With the adoption of new print technologies in the second half of… Continue reading

  • Wound man image.

    Wound man Part 1: origins

    12/08/2016

    The ‘wound man’ is an enigmatic and troubling figure from the world of medieval and early modern medical manuscripts.     Staring impassively out of the page, he bears a multitude of graphic wounds. His skin is covered in bleeding… Continue reading

  • How to survive the dog-days of summer

    10/08/2016

    Are you wilting under the heliacal rising of Sirius, Orion’s best friend, otherwise known as the ‘dog-days of summer‘?  Whether or not you have modern air conditioning (or servants to fan your heated brow), history provides us with a number of examples… Continue reading

  • Some fatherly advice from the king

    08/08/2016

    What right do we have to subject our children to potentially dangerous medical intervention in the interests of sparing them from a devastating disease that they may never contract? In the early 18th century several British royal children were inoculated… Continue reading

  • Tales of medical students heading for Paris

    29/07/2016

    British tourists and travellers heading by road for Paris and points beyond for the summer are likely to take the autoroute. Not so long ago however the principal route was the old RN 1 which took the traveller from Calais… Continue reading

  • Hieroglyphicks of the City Fathers

    25/07/2016

    The Corporation of London is the local government which controls the square mile known as the City of London. It includes the financial industries based in that small area in the eastern half of the London metropolis. The Corporation has… Continue reading

  • The Red Cross stamp collection

    18/07/2016

    Basil O’Connor, first president of the American National Red Cross (1947) and noted campaigner against polio was also a stamp collector. The Library have just acquired his nine album collection of 1043 international Red Cross / Red Crescent themed stamps.… Continue reading

  • Holloway Sanatorium for the Insane

    08/07/2016

    The travel writer Bill Bryson recorded that Virginia Water, the home to Holloway Sanatorium, had a charm about it because “it was full of wandering lunatics”. Bryson worked at the sanatorium in 1973 as a janitor on Tuke Ward. In… Continue reading

  • The story of Daraprim: from experimental drug to commodity

    30/06/2016

    A 62-year-old pharmaceutical drug developed by the Burroughs Wellcome Co. hit the news recently when the drug company who purchased the US marketing rights and increased the price by 5,000%. Today pyrimethamine (brand name Daraprim) is mainly used to treat… Continue reading

  • Apollo and the Aztecs

    27/06/2016

    Microcephaly is a word that has come from nowhere to the newspapers’ front pages in a surprisingly short time, owing to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil coinciding with the preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Congenital… Continue reading