News and events 2015


Ten Books

As part of the Arts and Science festival at the University in March, Jonathan Reinarz gave a talk on ‘Ten Books that Changed Medicine’. The talk drew attention to a number of key texts which are contained in the University Library and Archives, and he was assisted on the day by staff from the Cadbury research Library, who allowed members of the audience to  examine the texts discussed, as well as other works by the ten authors featured in the lecture.



The photo to the left is the frontispiece of one of the ten works discussed, Morgagni’s The Seats and Causes of Disease, first published in 1761.













Opera HouseVanessa Heggie, the Unit’s Birmingham Fellow in the history of medicine, is currently at the University of Sydney, supported by a 3-month Fellowship from the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science (  In late February she gave a lunchtime talk to the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (, on social media and blogging in academia, and this week she presented her research on the history of scientific exploration and expeditions to the History and Philosophy of Science ( seminar group.

Image above: Sydney Opera House (c) Vanessa Heggie 2015


Alistair RitchCongratulations to Alistair Ritch (pictured), who successfully defended his thesis on medicine in the nineteenth-century workhouse on 20 Feb. Alistair researched the histories of Wolverhampton and Birmingham workhouses under the New Poor Law and passed with only minor revisions. Well done, Alistair!



Birmingham workhouse

The photo above is of the archway entrance to Birmingham workhouse, taken by Alistair in the 1980s when it was still in use as offices in the Department of Geriatric Medicine. It was known locally as 'The Arch of Tears'.



FanxiangThe History of Medicine Unit is pleased to welcome Dr Fanxiang Min who will be working with us from February 2015 until January 2016. Dr Min is from China’s premier History Department at the University of Nanjing and will be researching the history of the NHS and familiarising himself more widely with new directions in the history of medicine. While at the University, he will also be a visiting fellow in Modern British Studies in the School of History and Cultures. Anyone who wishes to meet Dr Min while he is here, please contact the Unit and we will arrange a meeting.


Sarah Faloon, an undergraduate medical student who took our second-year History of Surgery module last year, has won the undergraduate essay prize of the Society for the Social History of Medicine. Sarah wrote on surgical innovations at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast during the Troubles in North Ireland. Her article,  ‘Medical Innovation in a Period of Conflict: The Hospital with a Warzone on its Doorstep ’, will be published on the SSHM’s website in February.

Sarah was born in the Royal Victoria Hospital and has sent us the photo below of her as a baby with her mother Alison and siblings Carol and Paul, May 1992.

Sarah's blog summarising her research is on the SSHM webpage and can be accessed here: 

Royal Victoria Hospital