Medical London



Medical London
City of Diseases, City of Cures

Written by Richard Barnett
Edited by Mike Jay

Published by Strange Attractor Press
In association with Wellcome Collection


For two thousand years, health and sickness have danced across, above and below the city’s streets, defining London life in the process. Medical London charts the many roles that diseases, treatments and cures have played in the city’s sprawling story, and reveals how London, in turn, has shaped the professions and practices of modern medicine. In doing so, it guides its readers on their own journey through the city’s streets and landmarks, and resurrects the vanished traces of its past.

Presented in a cloth slipcase, Medical London comprises three distinct, interlocking elements:

Sick City
A volume of essays exploring some of the threads that medicine has woven through London life, from its earliest beginnings to the multicultural metropolis of today: its roles in contagion and sanitation, in wealth and its consumption, in empire and immigration, in pleasure and in madness.

Anatomy of the City
A definitive guide to London’s medical landscape: its museums and hospitals, its grand monuments and secret corners, and the characters, stories and events that lie behind them.

Six maps for self-guided walks: from Daniel Defoe’s Plague Year wanderings to the druggists of Soho’s night haunts, the homeopaths of bohemian Chelsea to the naval surgeons of maritime Greenwich.



‘Beautifully packaged…Barnett and Jay have produced a wonderful history both of Londoners’ lives and the medical profession’ .. Observer

‘This is London’s real heritage…all human life, and human death, is here’ .. Peter Ackroyd, The Times

‘The best book about London in years’ .. Nature (Network London)

‘Elegantly written, beautifully designed…a stunning guide to the maladies and medics of London’ .. Ben Schott, The Times, Books of the Year

‘Like two white-aproned anatomists, Barnett and Jay stand above the still-breathing body of the city. They unveil a new and thrilling pathology – the city and the patient are one and the same…Medical London encourages the reader to enjoy the city to the full’ .. Financial Times

‘A box of deadly delights’ .. Matthew Sweet, Independent on Sunday , Books of the Year

‘Immaculate…a beautiful and enlightening compendium’ .. The Londonist

‘The delight is in the detail…in the best traditions of London writing (such as Moorcock, Ballard or Ackroyd), the city in Medical London seems almost alive’ .. Fortean Times

‘A cracking read…who could fail to find something of interest on dipping into this beautifully produced work?’ .. Microbiology Today