27 February 2018 15:01

A fascinating journey from 19th century quackery to 21st century surgery will await visitors at one of Lancaster University’s Campus in the City events on Thursday.

History PhD students Natalie Mullen and Erin Bramwell have put together an intriguing showcase, based on their research and expertise, which could help a local organisation in their quest to establish a medical museum in the area.

A collection of over-the-counter medicines from yesteryear, nineteenth-century psychiatrists’ notes from Lancaster Asylum and a pill roller are just part of the collection on show at the ‘The Doctor Will See You Now: Objects, Stories, and Memories from Lancashire's Medical Past’ event in St Nicholas Arcades on March 1 (10.30am to 15.30pm).

Natalie and Erin will also share historic pill recipes using ingredients, such as rhubarb and liquorice, together with the contents of a Tudor medicine box complete with items used to disguise bad smells which were believed to transport and transmit diseases.

A range of photographs showing Lancaster’s old chemist shops, hospitals and asylums will be on display and a child-friendly colouring table will encourage the design and creation of branding for over-the-counter medicines – a key part of pharmaceutical marketing.

And visitors will be asked to share where they keep home medicines using a floor plan template.

Words to ‘resistance songs’ written by patients in Lancaster’s former Royal Albert Hospital will be on show. These will include the ‘Cocoa Song’ (capturing how patients complained about food and drink) and ‘God Made The Bees’ detailing how patients responded to work. This showcases the work of the Lancashire Learning Disability Institutions project: http://www.lancslearningdisabilityinstitutions.org.uk/

Natalie and Erin, who studied for both BA and MA degrees at Lancaster University, are keen to gauge public interest in the subject of medical history to help the Lancaster Medical Museum organisation test support for a permanent exhibition of medical objects collated over the years. The event will also help them gather information for their research.

Both work on different areas of medical humanities and, in particular, the relationship between medical authority and the patient voice.

Natalie, who hails from Liverpool, examines the doctor-patient relationship in nineteenth-century asylums, such as Lancaster Asylum. Erin, who comes from Macclesfield, focuses on the importance of over-the-counter medicines in experiences of illness.

Campus in the City (CITC) is a five-week initiative which sees Lancaster University’s world-class research brought to life in an informal and accessible setting in St Nicholas Arcades (opposite Poundland).

Now in its fourth season, CITC brings local people, academics and students together through an exciting programme of free and interactive activities which explore a wide range of topics, including child development, green technology, social media psychology, practical legal advice and the human body.

All events are free and open to everyone from Wednesday to Saturday (inc) until March 31.