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Doctors, 'Delusions' and the Great Wen: Alternative Medicine's London Roots

A look at the history and enduring legacy of alternative medicine in London.

By the 1830s a wide range of alternative and cross-cultural medical practices were already flourishing in London. From acupuncture to animal magnetism, middle-class Londoners could take their pick of the latest medical fads, fancies, and innovations from around the world. ‘Regular’ medicine raged, newspapers scoffed and scandalmongered — but ‘alternative medicine’ was nonetheless installed as a feature of London life. Drawing on the accounts of doctors and patients alike, this talk will look at the long history and enduring legacy of alternative medicine in London.

Speaker Roberta Bivins is an Associate Professor of the History of Medicine at University of Warwick. Her work has examined the cross-cultural transmission of medical expertise, and the history of alternative and global medicine.


Roberta Bivins | talks


Date and Time:

10 February 2009 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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