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Opium Dens in Late 19th Century London

Speaker Virginia Berridge reflects on the image and reality of 19th century East End opium dens.

The opium den was inextricably part of the 19th century image of the mysterious fog-shrouded East End. But how real was the image? Does it tell us more about the fears of respectable society than it does about how the Chinese lived in Docklands? In this talk, Virginia Berridge reflects on how changing ideas about drug use in Victorian society helped to influence writing about Chinese opium smoking in London.

Virginia Berridge is Professor of History at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London. She is the author of Opium and the People and other writings about the history of drug and alcohol policy. Her most recent book is Marketing Health. Smoking and the discourse of public health in Britain, 1945-c2000 (Oxford University Press, 2007)


Professor Virginia Berridge | talks


Date and Time:

25 November 2008 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Bishopsgate Institute
230 Bishopsgate
020 7392 9200

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£7, concessions £5; advance booking required

Available from:

Call 020 7392 9220 between 9.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Additional Information:

Bishopsgate Institute is two minutes walk from Liverpool Street station.

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