10:30 – 11:30
Imagine a world before anaesthesia? Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business, but it was also a time of pioneering experimentation and discovery. But how to tell scientific progress from quackery?
Eltham author Wendy Moore, whose acclaimed, historical non-fiction bestsellers include Wedlock: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match and How To Create The Perfect Wife, returns with another meticulously researched, thrillingly told true tale. In this illustrated talk on The Mesmerist, she recounts how the 1837 arrival in London of a French visitor, the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet, promoting the exotic new idea of mesmerism, took the nation by storm. But it also caused ruptures in the medical community and the friendship of two of its pioneering figures, clinician John Elliotson and the founder of The Lancet Thomas Wakley, throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
Age: 15+ years