samedi 1 février 2014

La transformation de la médecine dans la Grande-Bretagne moderne

The transformation of medicine in early modern Britain

Patrick Wallis (LSE)

The next seminar in the 2013-14 History of Pre-Modern Medicine series will take place on Tuesday, 4th February.


In this paper, I discuss evidence for changes in the use of medical care in early modern England, and situate this against other evidence of shifts in the consumption of commercial/professional medical assistance. The core of the discussion will centre on a new paper studying demand for commercial medical assistance in early modern England. In this, we use a new dataset of individuals’ medical debts at death between c.1670-c.1790 in southern England to measure their consumption of medical and nursing services. Levels of consumption of medical services were high in London by the 1680s, and remain relatively stable over the century. But we find rapid growth in the provinces, both in the likelihood that the dying used medical assistance, and in the sums they spent on it. Provincial medical demand converged to London levels by the mid-1700s. The structure of medical services also shifted, with an increase in ‘general practice’, particularly by apothecaries. Our findings suggest the expansion in medical services diffused from London, and was motivated by a shift in preferences, not wealth. (The working paper is available as: Pirohakul & Wallis, Medical revolutions? The growth of medicine in England, 1660-1800


The seminar will take place in the Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, NW1 2BE (

Doors at 6pm prompt, seminar will start at 6.15pm.

The seminars in the series are focused on pre-modern medicine, which we take to cover European and non-European history before the 20th century (antiquity, medieval and early modern history, some elements of 19th-century medicine).

Organising Committee: Elma Brenner (Wellcome Library), Michael Brown (Roehampton), Elena Carrera (QMUL), Sandra Cavallo (RHUL), John Henderson (BirkbeckUL), Colin Jones (QMUL), William MacLehose (UCL, convenor), Anna Maerker (KCL), Christelle Rabier (LSE), Patrick Wallis (LSE), Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim (Goldsmiths).

Further details on the seminar series are available here:

Enquiries to Ross MacFarlane (Wellcome Library: or Dr Bill Maclehose (UCL:

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