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Diary of a medical student

Photograph of a young man neatly groomed with a moustache wearing a starched white collarShepherd Taylor [1860]Shephard Taylor was a medical student at King's from 1860 until 1864. He left behind a poignant and revealing diary detailing his studies and private observations.

On 11 October 1860, for example, he went with a fellow student to:

'Fisher, the anatomical porter's osteological shop where I purchased a disarticulated skeleton for £2 and for £1 a skull sawn through horizontally and vertically. Mrs Fisher, the porter's wife… a decidedly good looking young woman and on that account rather popular… though not at all flighty.'

Further entries follow:

16 November: 'Chaplain's lecture more interesting than usual. Darwin's Origin of Species condemned, of course.'

27 October: '[Surgeon William] Fergusson performed the operation of lithotomy in half a minute, which must surely be a record. He is a great surgeon…'

23 November: 'The present foggy weather is not favourable for electric experiments. When the electric flash does not take place, as it should do, Professor Miller is naturally rather vexed and excited…'

6 December 1862: 'Felt desperately languid for some reason… the weather abominable, the streets which were dirty on Wednesday, dirtier still on Thursday, and dirtier on Friday… the state of my boots and leggings is perfectly indescribable, so that it is not surprising the very fashionable disease among the hospital out patients, bronchitis, began to attack me also.'

30 March 1863: 'As usual, called out of bed at 7 am to attend a midwifery case at Short's Gardens, Drury Lane, a filthy, stinking den, Mrs Ford herself being minus one eye and the sound one anything but prepossessing. A nasty lingering labour too…'

5 June 1863: 'we have more cases of typhus fever in King's College Hospital than… in any other hospital in the United Kingdom, in consequence of its vicinity to the unhealthy… Clare Market. It is the almost universal custom to give very large doses of brandy in this and other forms of continued fever.'

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