King's College London
Exhibitions & Conferences
Feast, famine and physiology

Queen Elizabeth College

Photograph of six cookery students in white coats and hats all holding mixing bowlsCookery students, King’s College of Household and Social Science, 1930s

In 1985, King’s College merged with Queen Elizabeth College, formerly known as King’s College of Household and Social Science.

Graduates had taken positions in hospital kitchens and collaborated with medical staff over dietary treatments and requirements.

By 1934 the College had initiated the first course in any institution leading to a diploma in dietetics, which was formally recognised in 1936.

The two-term course was open to all College graduates, science graduates and medical practitioners, and included nutritional biochemistry, physiology and bacteriology, investigation and analysis of diets, nutrition in relation to health and disease, and practical instruction on catering for special diets.

Photograph of woman bent over a shovel with a smlking cooer in backtround and wheelbarrow in foregroundBuilding a camp oven as part of the Trench Cookery course (1915)This specialised in nutritional, physical and biological sciences and dietetics.

Following study of the theoretical aspects of nutrition, students spent three months in the diet kitchen of an approved hospital, and three months in the general kitchen either of an approved hospital or alternative institution.

A yearlong preliminary course in Science and Cookery was established in 1934 for trained nurses and graduates in subjects other than chemistry and physiology.

Photograph of cover of The Slimmer's Cookbook by Yudkin showing a set of cutlery tied together by a tape measureSlimmer's Cookbook, John Yudkin, Professor of Nutrition, Queen Elizabeth College, 1963 A Department of Nutrition opened in 1945, and in 1954 the first Professor of Nutrition - John Yudkin - was elected. Yudkin had already acquired a reputation for research undertaken at the respected Dunn Nutrition Laboratory in Cambridge.

Under his stewardship the Department explored the science of slimming, linking successful weight loss to changes to lifestyle and attributing weight gain in modern societies to 'people eating too much and exercising too little'.

Yudkin also alerted the public to what he saw as the dangers posed by excessive intake of sugar in the modern diet.

In this exhibition

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