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21 October - 17 November
FoSS and ESRC logos

Healers, healing and the unofficial medical market: Experiencing medicine in the period 1834-1948

Historical drawing of man mesmerising a woman, depicted as hypnotic rays from his hands

What’s on offer?

This 90-minute webinar, consisting of four mini talks and 30 minutes of virtual audience discussion, will unpack research regarding provision and experience of medical treatment from the unofficial medical market between when the New Poor Law was introduced in 1834 to when the NHS was founded in 1948.

What’s it about?

We cannot fully understand the popular experience and economy of medicine in the era of the New Poor Law unless we evaluate the totality of the unofficial medical marketplace. This three-year ESRC project aims to do just that. In this webinar, members of the project team – Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire, Owen Davies, and Professor of Economic and Social History at Nottingham Trent University, Steven King - will discuss:

- the impact of the New Poor Law on medical provision

- the wide range of healers practicing at the time, from cunning-folk and herbalists to bone setters and worm doctors

- the range of resources that were being used – some of which continue to be used today

- popular medicine on the eve of the founding of the NHS

- how such historical research can inform our understanding of alternative medicine and patient decision-making today.

Who’s leading the event?

The event is being led by Professor of Social History, Professor Owen Davies, University of Hertfordshire, and Professor of Economic and Social History, Professor Steve King, Nottingham Trent University.

Open to


Of particular interest to

Historians, health care researchers, general public interested in social history.