BSHM Congress 2023

Consult the past to understand the future

13-16 September 2023

Cardiff University

The President and Officers of the British Society for the History of Medicine look forward to welcoming you to the 2023 BSHM Congress at Cardiff University. Participation is open to all interested in the history of medicine and there are reduced rates for students.


  • Medicine in War and Conflict
  • Literature and Visual Art as Historical Resources
  • Medicine in the Age of European Colonialism

Papers and posters on general topics in the history of medicine are also welcome.


Medical Care and Military Surgery during the British Civil Wars: The Civil War Petitions Project

Professor Andrew Hopper (Professor of Local and Social History) & Dr Ismini Pells (Departmental Lecturer), Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford.

A Taste of One’s Own Medicine: Medical Satire at the Royal College of Physicians

Lowri Jones (Senior Curator) & Sarah Backhouse (Exhibitions Officer), Royal College of Physicians, London.

Medical Research on the Edges of Empire: British Colonial Medicine in the 19th Century

Dr Elise Smith (Associate Professor in the History of Medicine), University of Warwick.

Further details


Please direct enquiries to:


We invite abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations on any of the symposium themes and general topics in the history of medicine for consideration by the Congress review panel.

  • Abstract titles should be no more than 15 words.
  • The abstract text should be no longer than 300 words.
  • It may contain three references to be included in the total word count.

The organisers cannot guarantee to accept more than submission for oral presentation and one for poster presentation from each delegate.

The deadline for receipt of abstract submissions is 31 May 2023.

Authors of successful submissions will be notified by 7 July 2023.

Please note that final acceptance is subject to the presenter registering as a delegate to the Congress.

Oral presentations will be 15 minutes long with 5 minutes for questions and presenters will be required to keep strictly to time. Presentations should be in PowerPoint and must be submitted before the conference. It will not be possible for delegates to use their personal laptops or memory sticks at the Congress.

The format required for posters will be confirmed upon acceptance.



The BSHM welcomes all who are interested in the history of medicine to attend the Congress.

BSHM MEMBERS are entitled to a reduced registration fee.

If you are a member of an organisation affiliated to the BSHM, please register your status as a BSHM member online: CLICK HERE

If you wish to apply for BSHM Individual Membership please complete the online application form: CLICK HERE

When registering for the Congress, please indicate whether you are an Individual Member or BSHM Member of an Affiliated Organisation.

FULL-TIME POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS* can register at member rates.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS* are invited to participate at a specially reduced rate.

* Students must be registered on a full-time course at a recognised educational institution.

Please note that the John Blair Trust offers a limited number of small travel grants to enable undergraduate students to participate in the BSHM Congress: CLICK HERE

Early bird rates available until 21 July 2023.

Registration will close on 2 September 2023.


BSHM Poynter Meeting 2022

On Friday, 30 September 2022 the British Society for the History of Medicine (BSHM) will be holding the 2022 Pointer Meeting. This event will feature two lectures: Dr Emily Mayhew on ‘When Unexpected Survivors become Trustees of Each Other’ and Lieutenant General (Rtd) Professor Martin Bricknell CB OStJ PhD DM on ‘Military Medical Dilemmas – ethics in decision making’.

For more information about this engaging evening please click here to download the full poster or click here to access the registration form for the lectures.

In the biennial Poynter Lecture the BSHM commemorates Noël Poynter’s many and varied contributions to the study of the history of medicine. Previous lectures are listed on the BSHM website.

Having a Baby in Nantwich during the Mid- to Late Seventeenth Century

© Nantwich Museum, 2021

Sara Read, Loughborough University, and Janette Allotey, De Partu History of Childbirth Group and Nantwich Museum, will explore the role of midwives during the mid- to late seventeenth century, which includes the Civil War period. It will be described how one Nantwich midwife, Anne Knutsford, achieved local notoriety and subsequently spent many years trying to clear her name and regain her licence to practise midwifery.  Her case is well documented in archival records and has become of interest to modern-day social historians. 

Tickets can be purchased through the Museum’s website:

A TV researcher is currently looking for an ‘expert’ to advise on midwifery…

A researcher is currently looking for an ‘expert’ to advise on midwifery and a midwife who practised between 1940-60:

‘I’m researching a potential story to do with midwifery for the series Who Do You Think You Are? The ancestor we are interested in qualifies in 1928 as a midwife, she works as a ‘municipal midwife’ and then as a district midwife (we think) as a domiciliary midwife in London for the LCC from around 1942 – 1958. We would really like to speak with an expert to ask questions about her role and how she would have coped during the war, and what difficulties midwives faced”.

Does anyone know of a possible midwife interviewee?

Please contact Janette if you are able to help at:

The Foundling Hospital: Big with child on stage – fictional and real occurrences of pregnancy in the Thespian world of around 1700

Hear about fictional and real occurrences of pregnancy in the Thespian world of around 1700.

Wednesday 21st April 13:00 | Online via Zoom, free but must be booked in advance

Researcher Anita Sikora uncovers the intriguing world of pregnancy on the London stage in the early 18th century. English actor Ann Oldfield and Italian opera singer Margherita Durastanti both continued to perform well into advanced pregnancy. Come and discover what reactions this caused – and how pregnancy was depicted in the theatre during this period.

A new online feature on George Spratt’s Obstetrical Tables (1833) by Dr Rebecca Whiteley

Dr Rebecca Whiteley writes, ‘By studying Spratt’s tables alongside comic and satirical mobile prints, obscene and pornographic prints, and “fine art” nudes, this article demonstrates how medical images can be addressed as rich and complex resources for histories that are medical, visual, and cultural’.

Get access

A funded PhD studentship: ‘Public Understandings of Fertility, Pregnancy or Post-Natal Health: A Cultural History’

The topic is Public Understandings of Fertility, Pregnancy or Post-Natal Health: A Cultural History; the supervision is split between Birkbeck’s School of Arts and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Students are asked to define their project, specifying a period of history, and a specific health topic within maternity health, broadly conceived.