Text full multimedia monochrome

First time here?

Find out more about how The Lecture List works.

Coronavirus situation update

Our lecture organisers may or may not have had time to update their events with cancellation notices. Clearly social gatherings are to be avoided and that includes lectures. STAY AT HOME FOLKS, PLEASE.


Find out what you can do to keep The Lecture List online

The poisonous poet: arsenic and industrial revolution

Find out what links Darwin’s eczema and William Morris’ wallpaper in a fascinating scientific, cultural and political history of arsenic.

The 19th century was bathed in the most notorious of all poisons: arsenic. From wallpapers to cake decorations, from muslins to medicines, Victorian industry ensured that few lives were untouched by what came to be called ‘the verdant assassin’. Fortunately, this ubiquity also fuelled forensic science, organic chemistry and drug development. Join Andrew Meharg, author of Venomous earth, a new scientific, cultural and political history of arsenic, as he explains why Darwin took it for his eczema, Marx for his carbuncles and the Queen for her complexion. Andrew will also reveal how his work as an environmental toxicologist led him to discover that William Morris, the founding father of Britain’s green movement and the Arts and Crafts revival, made a fortune from mining and manufacturing ‘the perfect poison’, endangering his exclusive clientele in the process.


Professor Andrew Meharg | talks


Date and Time:

3 February 2005 at 7:00 pm


2 hours



The Royal Institution of Great Britain
21 Albemarle Street
020 7409 2992

More at The Royal Institution of Great Britain...



£8, £5 for Ri Members and concessions

Available from:

www.rigb.org or Ri events, 020 7409 2992

Additional Information:

This event is in association with Macmillan.
Ticket price includes a glass of wine after the event and an opportunity to buy Andrew’s book Venomous earth: how arsenic caused the world’ s worst mass poisoning.

Register to tell a friend about this lecture.


If you would like to comment about this lecture, please register here.


Any ad revenue is entirely reinvested into the Lecture List's operating fund