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Public lecture: The history of burns and their treatment - An integrated story (1800-2000)

When and where

20 July 2017
Royal College of Physicians of London
11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London, NW1 4LE

Past event

Public lecture: The history of burns and their treatment - An integrated story (1800-2000)

This lecture stems from a 4-year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project, jointly based at the universities of Birmingham and Leeds, which explores the history of burns and British identity over the years 1800 to 2000. There will also be a curator led tour of our acclaimed exhibition on 17th century collector extraordinaire, Sir Thomas Browne

5pm Arrival, refreshments and museum browsing
5.30pm Curator Tour
6.30pm Lecture starts
7.30pm Lecture finishes
7.45pm Curator Tour

Pay bar available from 7.30pm

The lecture will examine the way in which burns medicine emerged in the first half of this period and consider the ways in which burns injuries were understood, evolving from localised wounds to the skin caused by heat to a trauma which potentially wreaked havoc on all of the body’s systems. Successful treatment was thereby gradually seen to require an integrated approach to attend both the numerous physical repercussions as well as the mental impact of burns.

While addressing the medical therapies employed by practitioners and fully-integrated burns teams post-Second World War, the lecture will also foreground the integrated approach incorporated into the project, examining burns medicine in the context of the changing urban environment, professionalisation of medical and fire services, as well as the material culture of burns over the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century.

Before and after the lecture gain a unique insight by taking a curator led tour of our acclaimed temporary exhibition 'A cabinet of rarities': the curious collections of Sir Thomas Browne’. Collector of curiosities, debunker of myths, inspiration to writers and doctors alike, conjuror of words, owner of a live ostrich and expert witness at a witch trial. Sir Thomas Browne is probably the greatest British genius the vast majority of British people have never even heard of.

For more information on the exhibition please visit here

In light of the recent tragic events in West London, a voluntary collection will be held on the evening for the Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, supporting those affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Professor Jonathan Reinarz

Jonathan Reinarz is professor of the history of medicine at the University of Birmingham and director of the social studies in medicine team and secretary of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health.

He has published extensively on the history of hospitals and medical education and is principal investigator on the AHRC project Forged by fire: burns injury and identity in Britain, c.1800–2000. His publications include Healthcare in Birmingham (2009), Medicine and the Workhouse (with Leonard Schwarz, 2013), A Medical History of Skin (with Kevin Siena, 2013) and Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine (with Rebecca Wynter, 2015).