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William Hewson & the Craven Street Bones

Throughout October, the full collection of human and animal remains from William Hewson’s anatomy school, run at 36 Craven Street in the late 18th century, will be on display to the public for the first time at Benjamin Franklin House, accompanied by information on Hewson’s life and times. These grisly remains were uncovered during excavation of the basement of Benjamin Franklin House in 1998. A special history of medicine lecture series runs on Mondays throughout the month, while Saturday 18th October sees an adult talk plus free activities for kids.

Wednesday 1st – Friday 31st October, exhibition open daily 12-5pm (except Tuesdays), £7/£5 (includes Historical Experience show)

Lectures cost £5/£3conc (includes exhibition viewing)

Children’s activities free of charge


Wellcome Medical London Day
& Hewson Exhibition, October 2008

William Hewson and the Craven Street Bones

bones

Wednesday 1st – Friday 31st October

During the conservation of 36 Craven Street, excavation of the basement uncovered over 1,200 pieces of human and animal bones in what would once have been the House’s garden. Glass slides, ceramics, mercury and other material found, as well as the marks of saws and other instruments, suggest that these were the remains of William Hewson’s anatomy school, run from the house between 1772 and Hewson’s death of septicaemia in 1774. For the first time since their discovery ten years ago, a variety of the larger bone fragments, including skull and limb bones showing instrument marks, will be on display at Benjamin Franklin House, along with contextual information and images on Hewson’s life and contributions to anatomy and surgery.

Open daily, 12pm – 5pm (closed Tuesdays)

The Exhibition will be accompanied by a series of lectures and special events.


Monday Lecture Series

“A Day Without Dissection is a Day Wasted”:
Surgery in the 18th Century

Monday 13th October, 6pm

The eighteenth century saw a variety of changes in surgery, in particular a move from traditional training by apprenticeship to the foundation of hospital and private anatomy schools, such as Hewson’s. Despite the advances in anatomical understanding made by dissection, however, in an era before anaesthetics, surgery could still be a brutal and bloody affair…

£5/£3, not recommended for under 12s


Surgeons’ Lives

Monday 20th October, 6:30pm

Sally Frampton, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL

The lives of surgeons in the late nineteenth century - the era of such elite surgeons as Joseph Lister, James Paget, Frederick Treves and Victor Horsley - could differ greatly from Hewson’s time. Following the Anatomy Act of 1832, anatomical research and experimentation in the hospital led to further advances in surgery: the nineteenth century saw the introduction and gradual acceptance of anaesthesia and antisepsis – followed by abdominal and brain surgery. Surgeons were also increasingly accorded much wider respect, which impacted both the way they worked, and their social lives.

£5/£3, not recommended for children


William Hewson and the Craven Street Bones

Monday 27th October, 6pm

Tania Kausmally, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL

Born in Northumberland in 1739, Hewson received medical training in Newcastle-upon-Tyne before departing for London, where he attended William Hunter’s renowned anatomy school, as well as the hospital schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’. He became assistant and partner at Hunter’s school, before setting up his school at Craven Street in 1772. Hewson’s short-lived school provides a well defined snapshot of anatomical teaching prior to the Anatomy Act of 1832 when, without a legitimate source of corpses, surgeons had no choice but to turn to the infamous Bodysnatcher for supply.

£5/£3, not recommended for children


Medical London Day, Saturday 18th October

Blood, Bones & Bodies: Children’s activitieschild with skull
10:30am – 12pm

How did people in the past discover the body under the skin? Find out about important anatomists, like William Hewson, who helped us to understand how the human body works, through a series of hands-on activities: build your own skeleton, play dressing up and puzzle games, and much, much more!

FREE activities, aimed at 5-11 year olds


“A Day Without Dissection is a Day Wasted”:
Surgery in the 18th Century (adult talk)
11am – 12pm

The eighteenth century saw a variety of changes in surgery, in particular a move from traditional training by apprenticeship to the foundation of hospital and private anatomy schools, such as Hewson’s. Despite the advances in anatomical understanding made by dissection, however, in an era before anaesthetics, surgery could still be a brutal and bloody affair…

£5/£3, not recommended for under 12s


To book for any event email info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org or phone 0207 839 2006