This book talks about late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English medical culture, a study of what it meant to be a doctor and how this changed over time. It presents a brief overview of the social, economic and cultural landscape of late eighteenth-century York. Medical culture and identity in late eighteenth-century York took shape within a social landscape shaped by the values of gentility, polite sociability and civic belonging. The book examines the role of intellectual liberality, demonstrating how public displays of polite and 'ornamental' learning were central to the performance of medico-gentility. It explores the incipient demise of this culture. Through a close reading of a scandal which enveloped the York Lunatic Asylum, it also explores the ways in which medical identities founded upon gentility and politeness were critically undermined by the political and social factionalism. The book looks at medical involvement in the provincial scientific movement, examining how local medical men positioned themselves relative to the so-called 'march of intellect', the cultural and ideological alignment between science and social reform. It continues this analysis in relation to the cholera epidemic of 1832 and other medico-political activities. The book considers how the professional dominion over healthcare was forged by the dual processes of inclusion and exclusion. It discusses the foundation of the Medical School in 1834 against the trial, in the same year, of a local salesman for James Morison's 'Universal Vegetable Medicine'.
experience, to examine the ways in which medical practitioners presented themselves to the public and how they positioned themselves within the broader social, political and intellectual landscape. It is a
book about late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Englishmedicalculture, a study of what it meant to be a doctor and how this changed over
To some this might seem a strange endeavour. Surely, the sceptic might
suggest, what it means to be a doctor is a timeless constant, relatively impervious to the vagaries of historical change. Has not medicine always
transformation, one which would
have a profound impact on provincial Englishmedicalculture.
1 ‘A Memoir of the Life of Alexander Hunter, M.D.’, appended to A. Hunter
(ed.), Silva: Or a Discourse of Forrest Trees and the Propagation of Timber in his
Majesty’s Dominions, 4th edn, 2 vols (York: Wilson and Spence, 1812), vol. 1,
2 Anon. [J. Gregory], Observations on the Offices and Duties of a Physician; and on
the Method of Prosecuting Enquiries in Natural Philosophy (London: W. Strahan
and T. Cadell, 1770); J. Gregory, Lectures on the Duties and Offices of a