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Health and Medicine on the Home Front: London 1939-45

Free Lunchtime lecture by author and historian Kevin Brown

London was on the frontline for much of the Second World War, its infrastructure and civilian population subject to a wholly new form of warfare. Even before the war began it was realised that London would be a target and subject to unprecedented demands on health services. In order to deal with the expected casualties from air raids, the Emergency Medical Service was formed and the city divided into sectors for the evacuation and treatment of the injured. This involved a completely new co-operation and collaboration between the great independent charity hospitals of London and the municipal hospitals - and became a precursor of the Postwar National Health Service. At the same time as there was greater co-ordination of hospital services for air raid casualties and wounded servicemen, health services for the average Londoner came under ever greater pressure. The London County Council School Medical Service and midwifery services were greatly reduced on the assumption that all children and expectant mothers would have all been evacuated, despite many of them returning to their homes as soon as, and whenever, possible. Doctors were called up, hospitals bombed, sanitary conditions in the public air raid shelters horrendous and medicines in short supply. Yet it was patriotic to be fighting fit and Londoners were urged to stay as healthy as possible to help win the war. Against the odds, London came through. Mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war by finding out how they managed this feat.

Kevin Brown is the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum Curator and Trust Archivist at imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. He is also the author of "Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution", "The Pox: the Life and Death of a Very Social Disease" and "Fighting Fit: Health, Medicine and War in the Twentieth Century".


Dr. Kevin Brown | talks | www


Date and Time:

15 September 2009 at 12:30 pm


1 hour



Shoe Lane Library
Hill House
1 Little New Street
020 75837178

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Additional Information:

Nearest Public Transport: Chancery Lane Tube (Central Line) or Blackfriars or City Thameslink (Ludgate Hill). Buses - Fleet Street or Farringdon Road.

Contact: 020 7583 7178 or shoelane@cityoflondon.gov.uk


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