A History of Medicine walk guided by a Public Health Physician and garnished with a generous sprinkling of Bloomsbury fauna.* It’s a tale and trail of the Foundling Hospital and Pestilential Contagion and the Method to be used to prevent it and royal hernias and tuberculosis and smallpox and George III shaking hands with a tree (that’s what porphyria will do for you) and the prince and haemophilia and the Homeopathic Hospital and the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children and a parade of illustrious doctors. To say nothing of friendly dragons and prison reform and Druids and pails for widows and Dr. Dee’s discs and Chimney Sweeps and a poet laureate. And – a fitting climax if there ever was one – we end in the Enlightenment Gallery in the British Museum, where we’ll be enlightened thanks to the intervention and ministrations of Dr. Barry and the extraordinary “specimens, apparatus and equipment” he can bring to bear on our medical quest. Watching him work the Enlightenment Gallery, well, it’s like watching a world class surgeon ranging across the keyboard of his or her instruments, ordering them up, seeing them picked and handed over – whereupon the magic is wrought. Enlightening indeed.
*Non-medical Bloomsbury incidental delights that embellish Barry’s route.