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  • sapeurs-feat

    Faux french firefighters with false beards


    In the Library collections is this print intriguingly captioned “The false bearded sapeurs-pompiers at Fourneaux”. The caption tells us that the figures are firefighters in a small town on the French-Italian border, but what’s the story behind the false beards?… Continue reading

  • V0000950 Giuseppe Balsamo Cagliostro. Stipple engraving by R. S. Marc

    Notes from beyond


    Is this the Wellcome Library’s most striking catalogue description? MS.1074: Message stated to have been given at a séance at Bristol on Sunday, November 1st, 1874… For the perspective of the librarian or archivist this immediately raises a cataloguing conundrum  – who do… Continue reading

  • Text from 15th century manuscript.

    Before Agincourt: a contemporary voice on war in a medieval medical manuscript


    ‘What have you got on the Black Death?’, students occasionally ask in relation to the Wellcome Library’s medieval manuscripts. Surprising as it sounds, the answer is ‘nothing’. How can it be that some 300 mainly medical books, many of which… Continue reading

  • Digital Fusion Image Library TIFF File

    Film archives at risk


    World Day for Audiovisual Heritage falls on 27 October and the slogan for this year’s celebration is “Archives at Risk: Protecting the World’s Identities“. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced that all of the world’s… Continue reading

  • Image from birth scroll

    Wellcome MS. 632: heavenly protection during childbirth in late medieval England


    Wellcome MS. 632 may be the only surviving ‘birth girdle’ in England that was actually used during childbirth. This parchment roll survives as a rare artefact from a time when women, who could afford it, gave birth in well-furnished darkened… Continue reading

  • Edith_Morgan_header

    Edith Morgan: a life’s work in mental health


    Edith Morgan was a prominent figure in the field of mental health for over 40 years, both in the UK and internationally. Her personal papers, documenting her remarkable career, have just been catalogued and are available to view at the… Continue reading

  • seaside

    Doctors and the invention of the English seaside


    How did the so-called ‘sea cure’ supplant the taking of waters at fashionable spas for Georgian England’s worried well? This was the question I sought answers for in the Wellcome Library’s collections. There I found several intriguing medical tracts, not… Continue reading

  • brett-feat

    Brett: then and now


    Roger Graef is a distinguished theatre producer, documentary film maker and founder of the production company Films of Record. He curated a programme of films around science on film for the 75th anniversary of the Wellcome Trust in 2011. It… Continue reading

  • camberwell-feat1

    Tracks and traces: reuniting the Camberwell House papers online


    History is often the piecing together of fragments. Archive documents are the tracks and traces of long-gone events, which the researcher looking for truth about the past follows to assemble the scraps of evidence that build up a picture. Sometimes… Continue reading

  • L0064305 Frontispiece and titlepage: 'The Christians Refuge'
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images
Frontispiece and titlepage: 'The Christians Refuge'
1665 The Christians refuge: or heavenly antidotes against the plague in this time of generall contagion. To which is added the charitable physician, prescribing cheap and absolute remedies, for prevention and cure thereof. Published for the benifit [sic] of all families.
W. W.
Published: 1665.

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

    Spotlight: a solitary survivor of the Great Plague


    The Great Plague that afflicted London 350 years ago (1665–66) had a dramatic impact on the city, killing up to 100,000 people of a population that then numbered about 460,000. There was a plethora of printed responses to this plague… Continue reading