News today of my next big project – I’m delighted to be writing a book for Harvill Secker, for publication next year.
The Dublin Railway Murder tells the story of a notorious crime perpetrated in the Broadstone railway terminus in Dublin in 1856. One morning that November, the station’s cashier George Little was found dead underneath his desk, his … Read more
I was delighted to be asked to write a series of essays for the Wellcome Collection, a wonderful museum in London which houses an important collection of medical artefacts and also one of the greatest medical libraries in the world.
The subject I chose to write about is Revolutions in Medicine – in six essays I tell the stories … Read more
Philipp Franz von Walther was an eminent German surgeon highly regarded for his expertise in ophthalmology and as a pioneer in plastic surgery. While serving as professor at the University of Bonn he was also the co-editor of an influential periodical, the Journal der Chirurgie und Augenheilkunde. In 1822 he published this surprising clinical report, which was subsequently translated (and, … Read more
The year is 1840, and The Lancet brings us this snippet of medical news from Germany:
A man who, from his youth, had been accustomed to catch and tame vipers, brought two, on the 24th March, to a shopkeeper. While playing with one of the animals, he put it in his mouth…
I bet you can’t guess what happened next.… Read more
The Royal College of Physicians in London, which celebrates its 500th anniversary later this year, is currently staging a small exhibition devoted to one of its most celebrated former Fellows. William Harvey was a prominent member of the College in the 17th century, when he was also personal physician to Charles I. In 1628 he published De Motu Cordis, … Read more
Serious rail accidents have become such rare events that it’s easy to forget just how dangerous the railways were in Victorian Britain. Between 1840 and 1900 there was not a single year without a death on the rail network. In 1873 alone there were 15 fatal accidents – more than one a month – and the following year three major… Read more
In 1871 a coroner from the city of St Louis, Dr G. F. Dudley, sent a short paper entitled ‘Interesting Cases’ to the Medical Archives. They were all drawn from inquests over which he had presided, and they certainly are interesting – the first in particular.
Mr. J. H. L., aged 38, of vigorous and robust constitution, was wounded … Read more
It has been a bad week for injuries at Wimbledon, with two of the favourites for the men’s title exiting the tournament with obvious signs of physical wear and tear. Yesterday the defending champion Andy Murray hobbled out in five sets, obviously impeded by a sore hip that has been affecting him, we now learn, for much of his … Read more