Family Hair-looms

Does anyone care for a short story about death, documents and hair? Back in November, we tweeted this story with the theme of #HairyArchives as part of Explore Your Archives week. It proved quite popular, so we’re re-telling a version of it here for those of you who missed it. Usually, we take advantage of the …

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

World Rabies Day takes place each year on September 28, the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur. Better known for developing the pasteurisation process, he was also involved with developing the first efficacious rabies vaccine. It’s not a disease that many people in the UK have reason to give much thought to, but roughly …

Happy Birthday, NHS!

On 5th July 1948 the Secretary for Health Aneurin Bevan officially launched an ambitious new service: the National Health Service. At its core were three principles: That it meet the needs of everyone That it be free at the point of delivery That it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay At the …

Smallpox

It has wiped out armies, killed Kings and Pharaohs, and devastated civilisations for at least 3000 (and possibly up to 10,000) years, yet the first written records mentioning smallpox only date back to 4th century China. Trade links and the expansion of empires probably brought the disease to Europe in the 7th century, and Europeans …

1977-2017: 40 years of the Queen’s Medical Centre

On 28th July 1977, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened The Queen’s Medical Centre, the first specifically-built teaching hospital in the UK. This marked her Silver Jubilee. Manuscripts and Special Collections holds a number of the hospital’s papers and photographs, including those relating to the opening event, which were acquired in October 2012. The University …

Doctoring Derbyshire

Dr Edward Wrench is so far best recognised for two reasons, firstly, his travel exploits to Europe and America, and secondly, from the earlier University of Nottingham blog post ‘Doctors, Diaries and Descendants’ which concentrated on his time in the Crimea and Indian Mutiny [some of his letters from India are currently on display in …

A spoonful of spermaceti helps the medicine go down

It’s that time of year when coughs, colds and flu are doing the rounds.  But how did our ancestors cope with ill-health, before the days of ready-prepared pills and potions from the local shop? Manuscripts and Special Collections holds a number of works with useful recipes to be made at home – some possibly more efficacious …

Dead Man Found in Coffin

What are Horseshoehead, Purples, Tissick, and Rising of the Lights?  If you guessed along the lines of an equestrian accident, a colour, a small village in the Home Counties, and perhaps an indie band on the verge of greatness, then you’d be very wrong. These are just a few of the bizarre-sounding medical conditions that …

Monday Mysteries

Those of you who follow us on Twitter might get a sense of deja vu with the images in today’s post! For the last few weeks we have been posting some of the many ‘mystery’ photographs from our collections, in the hopes that someone may be able to shed light on who the people are. Often we …

The First Cut is the Deepest

The worst experience in Charles Cullen’s young life was very nearly overlooked. The volume in which it is recorded, Uhg O 1/1, is a Treatment Book, and is unremarkable to look at. The brown binding is battered and the pages are covered in the scrawling handwriting of an 18th century doctor, complete with ink blobs and …