History of Pre-Modern Medicine: ‘Gardens of Improvement: Scientific, agricultural and botanical landscapes created by British medical practitioners in the late Georgian period’

History of Pre-Modern Medicine with Dr Clare Hickman (KCL), Tuesday 19th January

Abstract: This paper will explore how gardens were designed and used by medical practitioners as places for scientific experimentation, botanical education and agricultural improvements during the late eighteenth-century. Beginning with the rural retreat of John Coakley Lettsom at Grove Hill where he combined agricultural interests, particularly the cultivation of the mangle-wurzel root vegetable, with an ornamental landscape, it will also consider the private gardens of John Hunter and Edward Jenner. These examples will be employed to consider how their owners’ personal interests were manifested in their physical use of designed landscapes. Such private gardens were part of a wider network of botanical and agricultural landscapes, which included the seats of the landed gentry as well as more public botanic gardens. Plants and ideas moved between these spaces so other relevant gardens will also be considered. There was a renewed interest in botanic gardens at this time and those under consideration include William Curtis’ London Botanic Garden which was funded through subscription, the Edinburgh Botanic Garden established by John Hope and used to train medical students, and the botanic garden at Glasnevin in Dublin which initially operated under the wider purpose of botanical education for the labouring classes. By investigating these spaces I hope to explore aspects of botanical networks, the role of the garden as scientific space, and the function of gardens for knowledge production and dissemination.

This research forms part of my wider Wellcome Medical History & Humanities Fellowship exploring the ‘Garden as a Laboratory’.
Our location will be the Wellcome Library, 183 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BE.
Doors open at 6pm and we'll start the seminar at 6.15pm. 

More info on the History of Pre-Modern Medicine series: http://blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2015/01/pre-modern-medicine-seminars-spring-2015-programme/

Ross MacFarlane
Research Engagement Officer
Wellcome Library
Wellcome Trust
Gibbs Building
215 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK

T +44 (0)20 7611 7340
F +44 (0)20 7611 8369
E r.macfarlane@wellcome.ac.uk
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