Category Archives: Blog posts

A Dubious Death

Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading through some of the correspondence of the Radcliffe Family, who lived in Hitchin in the eighteenth century. One case has been copied out of the notes of Sir Hans Sloane, a successful medical practitioner who treated Queen Anne and Kings George I and II. This case …

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Curing Festive Feasting Ailments

Will there be no more cakes and ale? Sir Toby Belch, Twelfth Night (Act II, Scene 3) We’d be willing to bet that most of us have over indulged on the Christmas goodies at one time or another, and for those in the past this was just as true. In this post we look at …

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Under the Mistletoe

Christmas is drawing ever closer and people are decorating their homes, soon, I’m sure, we will start to see sprigs of mistletoe hanging from door frames. We all know that two people under the mistletoe are supposed to kiss. But in the early modern period mistletoe (or misletow, misletoe) was also thought to be a …

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A Christmas Tragedy with a Miraculous Ending

Every year we aim to bring you a Christmas themed post. We have looked at Christmas Roses, Mince pies, and soon will be bringing you a suggestion for warding off Christmas over-indulgence. Today we bring you a story related to Christmas, although perhaps not one that embodies Christmas spirit. This tale began in Christmas 1671 …

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Romanticism in the Dissecting Room

For centuries the need for the surgeon to learn more of the anatomy of the human body and to practice his art has required students of medicine to examine and dissect the bodies of the dead – obtained legally or otherwise – in private schools or, from the mid-eighteenth century, public hospitals. The work of …

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