Much recent work in Stuart political and intellectual history has been concerned with historical writing. In particular, some scholars have begun to describe how early modern observers used the composition of contemporary or near contemporary history as a mode of political thinking. Taking a cue from some of that work this chapter describes and tries to explain the emergence of two complementary trends in contemporary-history writing from the later 1630s and into the 1660s: first, a return to biography as a way of charting historical change over time; and, second, a relatively novel fascination with the details of individual personality as a set of historical ‘facts’ worth collecting and preserving. Drawing on biographies by Samuel Clarke, Izaak Walton, John Hacket and Peter Heylyn, and on personality-descriptions collected and preserved by Edward Hyde, Nicholas L’Estrange, Anthony Wood and John Aubrey, this chapter considers why the individual became such an important site for historical reflection in England’s revolutionary age. This explanation is derived from the careful reconstruction of mid-century practices of collecting, reading and inscribing.
What does it mean when we say that we ‘love’ the NHS? How do different public groups ascribe meaning to this service? When do feelings about the NHS, such as love or fear, turn to action, such as protest? This chapter makes close investigation of a group which has not yet been subject to sustained academic consideration: NHS campaigners and activists. It analyses archival materials from the campaign groups London Health Emergency, the Politics of Health Group, and Spare Rib alongside a new survey of 175 self-identified ‘NHS campaigners’, offering over 38,000 words of rich new qualitative data. Tracing campaigners’ feelings in a structured way helps us to unpick complexities in broader public attitudes. If even the views of this relatively small and focused group, with strong passions about the NHS, are fractured, divided, and complex, then this highlights clear difficulties with making bold assertions that ‘everyone’ ‘loves’ the NHS. Furthermore, looking at the views of this group helps us to think about the relationships between publics and state institutions. Studying this group, which has some of the strongest attachments to the NHS, begins to demonstrate when, why, and how members of the public develop ‘love’ for institutions; when members of the public will challenge state provision; and, more broadly, how forms of lay expertise thus come into collaboration and conflict with political and media power.
Luisa de Carvajal’s story of extraordinary piety and her extraordinary mission to England during James I’s reign is well known. Sources are relatively plentiful, and, like the woman herself, remarkable. Perhaps most precious are her own life writings, which survive in several drafts, and an equally interesting formal ‘Life’ written by her English Jesuit confessor. These texts have most often been used to understand aspects of Luisa’s interior life – to flood light on her personal feelings and thoughts. Not enough has been done to understand these texts as important interventions into important political landscapes both in England and on the Continent. This chapter argues that her autobiographical sketches were not private musings but efforts to construct a version of her life that would be ‘useful’ within various polemical contexts in which her actions and example mattered. I argue they were part of a broader scheme to stabilize her sometimes erratic ‘performances’ of sanctity in and around London for audiences in England and Spain. She and her confessors wanted to take control of her narrative and underline the significance of her activities using techniques of manuscript circulation and strategic print campaigns. In doing so, they wanted to define her efforts and render them exemplary with hopes that they would become normative. To do this, she and her confessors tried to create a coherent ‘public’ which had remained elusive given her controversial eccentricities. Drawing inspiration from recent work on English Catholicism, this chapter shows that life-writings associated with Luisa were deeply engaged in contemporary politics and spoke specifically to the question of the role women should play on the English (and Spanish) religio-political scene.
The founding of the NHS met a mixed reception from the different groups already working in Britain’s health system. Doctors proved difficult to persuade of the new service’s merits, citing worries about earnings, medical independence, and state salaries. Nurses were by no means universally welcoming, especially when some nursing students discovered that their pay packets had been slimmed by the expansion of national insurance. The only groups to wholeheartedly welcome the NHS Act were those health worker trade unions – COHSE, NUPE, and NALGO – which mainly represented manual employees and lower-level administrators. Yet as the NHS developed as a popular institution, groups of employees increasingly identified with it, laying claim to ‘NHS staff’ as a form of identity and establishing themselves as the main defender of the service’s interests. 1976 saw the first major national demonstrations in opposition to cuts to the service, with doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff all mobilising, often in uniform and often rhetorically employing ‘NHS staff’ as an identity, to reject IMF-mandated budget reductions. This chapter uses letters to newspapers and trade union periodicals to chart the development over time of these inter-occupational connections and their attendant forms of identities. It argues that far from the NHS quickly creating stable forms of corporate identity, in fact different groups of employees created distinctive forms of belonging, status, and imagined solidarities around their connections to the service. These were contingent and unstable and changed over time, with considerable ramifications for how workers understood their labour both then and later.
Historians know Edward Reynolds as bishop of Norwich and a champion of comprehension after the Restoration. But by the time that he ascended to the rank of prelate his clerical career already spanned the decades of the Personal Rule, the English Civil Wars, the Interregnum and the crowning of Charles II. This chapter revolves around Reynolds the cleric and his moderate puritan roots, examining his ecclesiological writing and his relationships with different types of English Protestants. It seeks to trace – through the career of a man whose origins derived squarely from the so-called ‘Calvinist consensus’ of the early Stuart period – the enduring influence of moderate puritanism, described here as a set of seventeenth-century political and religious practices. Early modern conceptions of moderation have once again gained significant scholarly focus, with some of the most nuanced work asserting that the English penchant for a via media sat at the heart of an ideology of control and coercive constraints. This chapter provides further insights on how to think about moderation by adopting a practice-centred perspective. Thus tied to a distinctive narrative agenda, it breaks through the confines of the periodization perpetuated by traditional concerns with the causes of the English Civil Wars and Revolution.
"This chapter looks at incidents where the display and preservation of Egyptian mummies in European museums went wrong. It begins with the example a mummy that was gifted to the British Museum by William Lethieullier. The mummy itself disappeared in the 1800s, but its coffin remains in the collection, bearing the holes from a device that was once used to make it rotate. The second story told in this chapter relates to the opening of France’s first public collection of Egyptian artefacts in 1827, under the direction of curator Jean-François Champollion. Champollion’s notice for the opening refers to three mummies, but today only one remains. So what happened to the others? The final part of the chapter recounts the fate of the British Museum’s ‘Unlucky Mummy’, a mummy that is reputed to have brought misfortune to all who have encountered it. Like the Lethieullier mummy, all that remains of it today is a coffin.
This chapter begins at the Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1867, where archaeologist Auguste Mariette conducted the public unrolling of a mummy. The displaying of human remains gained a new level of popularity in nineteenth-century Europe, and there was particular interest in bodies that differed from the norm of the able, white body. A notable example is Julia Pastrana, who was first exhibited alive as ‘the ugliest woman in the world’, and then dead as an example of preservation techniques. Two men who advanced the display of mummies as a form of entertainment in this period were Giovanni Battista Belzoni and Thomas Joseph Pettigrew. Belzoni organised an exhibition at the Egyptian Hall in London in 1821, using atmospheric reconstructions of the tomb of Seti I and clever marketing techniques to draw massive crowds. In the 1830s, Pettigrew, a doctor by training, became the first celebrity mummy unroller, presenting numerous sell-out events in London. The chapter closes by looking at a more recent unrolling: a televised dissection conducted at the Manchester Museum in 1975. Although presented as cutting-edge science, this event was not so different from the unrollings of the nineteenth century, and raises similar ethical questions.
Two mummies buried in a museum garden … a coffin that rotates … skulls amassed for dubious research … What if the most interesting stories about Egyptian mummies are not the ones you know? Mummified explores the curious, unsettling and controversial stories of the Egyptian mummies held by museums in France and Britain. From powdered mummies consumed as medicine, to mummies unrolled in public, dissected for race studies and DNA-tested in modern laboratories, there is a lot more to these ancient human remains than meets the eye. Following mummies on their journeys from Egypt to museums and private collections in Paris, London, Leicester and Manchester, the book revisits the history of these bodies that have fascinated Europeans for so long. Mummified explores stories of life and death, of collecting and viewing, and of interactions – sometimes violent and sometimes moving – that raise questions about the essence of what makes us human.
This chapter begins with the figure of Henry S. Wellcome, the businessman who founded the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. Wellcome amassed a huge collection of ancient Egyptian materials, including human remains such as skulls. Today, many of these are still held at the Wellcome Collection in Bloomsbury. The presence of such materials in an institution dedicated to the history of medicine is no accident. As the chapter explains, people in the medieval and early modern periods consumed mummies in a powdered form, known as mumia, in order to treat illnesses. This practice fell away around the end of the early modern period, but medical interest in mummies remained strong, increasingly focusing on the question of how these bodies could be so well preserved. This gave rise to the practice of ‘openings’, where anatomists would dissect mummies, often before an audience of the public. The chapter describes the activities of two Frenchmen, the chemist Guillaume-François Rouelle and the mineralogist Frédéric Cailliaud, who played roles in advancing the scientific study of Egyptian mummies. It concludes with a more recent example of a medical examination: a CT scan of a mummy named Tamut, carried out at the Royal Brompton Hospital in the early 2010s.
"This penultimate chapter looks to the future, considering how new technologies are changing the ways human remains are displayed. It begins with the Body Worlds exhibition, where ‘plastinated’ human cadavers are displayed to paying customers, ostensibly for educational purposes. The chapter moves on to January 2020, when researchers used 3D modelling to ‘recreate’ the voice of the mummy Nesyamun. This project was justified on the basis that the mummy was being given a voice – a dubious claim that raises questions about how much we project our own fantasies on to Egyptian mummies. Other technologies, such as those used in ‘virtual unwrappings’, present similar difficulties. Although in many cases they were developed to resolve ethical challenges, their extended usage often generates new ones. The rest of the chapter considers the ethics around choosing to display Egyptian mummies at all, using a case from Manchester Museum. Between 2008 and 2012, the museum held a public consultation on the subject. At one point, it covered up its three mummies with a shroud. However, this was met with negative responses. Museum visitors in the West generally see it as their right to view human remains in museums.