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Curator of Community Health, he has worked in the museum for many years on a wide range of medically themed exhibitions and web resources as well as curating a number of medical collections. Main research interests are Limb prostheses, military medicine and urban public health. Recently the lead curator on our First World War centenary exhibition, Wounded: Casualty, Conflict and Care, and now one of the team developing the extensive new Medical Galleries.

On the 1st July they’ll have been in England for three years. The other home countries got theirs some months earlier. On a typical day we might pass hundreds of them, but they’re such a part of the landscape now that we barely notice them at all. On that day in 2007, England followed Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by making it illegal to smoke in most enclosed public spaces and work premises. As part of this major public health legislation, […]

Of all our many and varied medical objects in storage, it’s the artificial limbs that visitors often find the most striking. Occupying two whole rooms, the majority were acquired from Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, which opened 95 years ago this month. The date is significant. By 1915, the trickle of amputees shipped home to Britain in the early weeks of the First World War was becoming a torrent. The authorities, who were obliged to provide them with artificial limbs, were […]

For me, the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man highlighted two things in particular. Firstly, I’m as rubbish at playing it now as I was in the 80s, but secondly it’s a reminder of just how far computer games have advanced in three decades. In contrast, a less publicised 30 year anniversary reminds us that some other things don’t progress as quickly as we’d like. Back in May 1980, the World Health Assembly confirmed the global eradication of smallpox. Last week a statue […]

The Greek authorities recently named and shamed a number of tax-avoiding doctors. A move that is perhaps more revealing of blame-shifting than an indication that the profession is morally suspect. Not that doctors are always the saints we’d like them to be. Just because they’ve taken the Hippocratic Oath, doesn’t mean they’re going to stick to it. Buried within our vast and varied medical collections are a number of objects associated with good doctors that turned (very) bad. Dr Neill […]

The oral contraceptive – better known simply as ‘the pill’ – is a part of everyday life. And while its very existence still attracts strong and conflicting opinions, it has revolutionised the lives of countless women in the last 50 years. Because it was on May 9, 1960, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conditionally approved the drug Enovid 10mg – the world’s first birth control pill. Surprisingly, Enovid had already been available for several years. Used by […]

My colleague Vicky is right. Spring is finally here. And yet… winter drags on, as the lingering winter vomiting disease continues to make its presence felt. A family of viruses – known as the noroviruses – thrive in crowded conditions and are especially fond of schools, where pupils then take bugs home. An unpleasant scenario my young daughter and I played out a few days ago. Avoiding it is partly down to luck. But one major defence is the good old public health […]

Curatorial work can be pretty desk-bound, so opportunities to get your hands dirty are not to be missed. I recently fulfilled a long-held ambition to venture into London’s Victorian sewers. Hey – we’ve all got to dream… Back in the 1800’s London’s sanitation was terrible, as this satirical engraving of ”Monster Soup commonly called Thames Water”, illustrates: It was a public health disaster, that claimed numerous lives. London’s sewage system, although it’s still being modernised, is essentially a Victorian construction engineered by Joseph […]