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Medicine in History

History; Science & Nature
4.9 out of 5 From 288 reviews

Being able to pick and choose activities and either attend at the specified time or watch a recording later suits me perfectly.

, reviewed on 10 Oct 2022

Entertaining and instructive presentations by knowledgeable speakers.

, reviewed on 18 Nov 2022
  • DURATION 60 mins x 4
  • HOW TO ATTEND Attendance is live via Zoom
4.9 out of 5 From 288 reviews

Being able to pick and choose activities and either attend at the specified time or watch a recording later suits me perfectly.

, reviewed on 10 Oct 2022

Entertaining and instructive presentations by knowledgeable speakers.

, reviewed on 18 Nov 2022

Event Description

A study of some of the medical ideas and procedures inflicted on our ancestors. You will wonder how they survived! Prepare to be astounded, amused and appalled in equal measure...

Roman Medicine: Science and Superstition (Thursday 8th September)
The Romans were very clever but their ideas on medicine and surgery relied largely on magic and folklore. We present real artefacts and authentic replicas which give insight into how the Romans thought the body worked and what they did to treat disease and injury. We look at their beliefs and the practical ways they dealt with everyday problems such as toothache and piles. Prepare to be surprised!

Poisons for Medicine: Victorian pharmacists and quack doctors (Thursday 22nd September)

A darkly humorous look at medicine in the 19th Century. The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemy to modern pharmacy. Chemists lent their ingenuity to attempt to provide any cure their customers wanted. Some made fortunes, some made disastrous mistakes. As the speaker points out, our recent forebears must have had incredibly strong constitutions to have survived the lethal doses of over-the-counter poisons blatantly advertised as cure-alls. The talk leaves you amused and stunned in equal measure.

Chloroform: Sense and Insensibility (Thursday 6th October)

Horror and humour combine to explore how early doctors and scientists experimented with anaesthesia, often on themselves or their family and friends. The quest to transform surgery from a terrifying ordeal to pain-free experience resulted in alarming degrees of both bravery and recklessness.

Arsenic: the Victorian Housewife's friend (Thursday 20th October)

From a ballroom gown that floored the dancers, to wallpaper that rendered Queen Victoria's guest at Buckingham Palace unconscious; no wonder Arsenic has such a bad press. This talk reveals how, in the 19th century, this substance (which could be sold freely to children), was the culprit in countless careless deaths and also many sinister and sometimes systematic murders. Interesting and amusing.

Please note that each of the talks from this series have previously been presented on Mirthy, however this is the first time they will be shown as a series.

  • Duration: 60 mins x 4
  • Online Zoom event: Join from your computer, phone or tablet (no replay available)
Sun Jester

Meet the Host, Sun Jester

Graham, Towse and Bronwen Harrison have presented a variety of informal talks and musical entertainments for adult groups since 2014. Offering a wide range of topics, their aim is to enlighten, divert and amuse.  For over 25 years, Sun Jester have worked in the education, heritage and entertainment sectors with many and varied organisations such as English Heritage, National Trust and prominent heritage sites and museums.

Towse has a degree in History, an MA in Museums and Gallery Education and worked for many years as a Heritage Education Consultant. She has a keen interest in archaeology and social history, particularly how they shed light on the role and position of women in history.

Graham has a passion for military and social history. He also has a particular enthusiasm for the skills and technology of our prehistoric ancestors. Graham has many years experience as an historical re-enactor, interpreter and community artist as well as working for the NHS as a patient simulator, involved in the training of doctors and other medical staff.

Bronwen is a professional performer, experienced in the creation, direction and performance of physical, mask and musical theatre. As a professional musician, vocalist and recording artist, Bronwen currently performs with three groups, a contemporary rock/blues band, a vocal duo performing vintage music and a group playing music from the Medieval and Tudor periods.

Preparing for the Event

For the best experience, you will need to have Zoom downloaded onto your computer. Please ensure you're connected to broadband/wifi rather than using your mobile phone connection (3G/4G).

We also recommend that pets are either calmly sitting on your lap or in another room, and any refreshments you may require are within your reach!

More Information

What if I can’t make the event?

If a recording’s available for the event, you can still register for it and we will send you an email with a link to a recording shortly after it ends.

Will my camera be on and will I be visible to the other people?

Your camera and microphone does not need to be on for you to enjoy the event. The choice about whether to do this is completely yours.

How do I watch the live event?

Rest Less events are hosted on Zoom, a computer application that allows you to attend online events just by clicking a link. For detailed instructions, please go to our "FAQ" page, which you can find a link to in the nav bar at the top of the page.

How do I sign-up for and access the recording? (Recorded events only)

Book the event as normal (as if you are attending live). After the event ends you will automatically receive a post-event email with a link to the recording, as long as the event was recorded. You do not need to do anything else and there is no separate booking process for recordings only. Please note it can take up to 24 hours for Zoom to process recordings.


4.9 out of 5 From 288 reviews