Georgian Group Symposium: Architecture and Health 1660-1830


The Georgian Group’s symposium, Architecture & Health: 1660-1830, will be held at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, on Thursday 3 November 2022. The hospital, shortly to celebrate its 900th Anniversary, was ‘repaired and beautified’ in the eighteenth century. Gibbs’s Great Hall and adjacent Grand Staircase, with its miracle murals by Hogarth, provided an extraordinary backdrop for the encounter between benefactors and their impoverished beneficiaries. The spaces in which medicine was studied and debated, and healthcare provided, are profoundly revealing of Georgian society. In the aftermath of the Great Plague of 1665, Britain enjoyed a medical revolution: science was hotly debated with ancient views challenged, and new knowledge and practice explored within the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, on the benches of anatomy theatres, in books, and in botanical gardens. New voluntary hospitals relieved poor people, and radical practitioners addressed chronic public health problems. As we recover from the pandemic which highlighted social inequalities in the nation’s health, this symposium will consider what we can learn from as well as about history.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following between 1660-1830:
• Designing health spaces: air, light, sanitation, and water. Spaces of medical knowledge; improvised field hospitals.
• Outside spaces: botanical gardens, spas, resorts, & therapeutic landscapes.
• Philanthropy, fundraising, & the arts
• Scientific & medical instruments, collections, & public displays.
• Public health & chronic disease, epidemiology, dispensaries.
• Rural, provincial, & imperial healthcare, including in transit and abroad.

Proposals are invited for 15-minute papers based on original research. We particularly welcome talks from and about under-represented communities, from archivists, conservators, and medical historians. Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words and a copy of your CV to Dr Ann-Marie Akehurst ( by 8 April 2022. Any questions regarding the symposium should be sent to the same address.

Details can be found on the event website.

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