This is the second year we’ve done the S&M tour, and this time we had glorious weather. I’m not a tour guide or a historian, but as a doctor and researcher at the university of Edinburgh I’m fascinated by the history around me. I love the fact that I work for the same organisation that discovered anaesthetics, antiseptics, and Kallman’s syndrome among other things. History comes out of the walls. So I read obsessively made notes of the interesting bits, and decided to share them with a tour.
The first problem when writing the tour was that the medical and scientific history of Edinburgh didn’t just happen in the nice bits of the old town, it happens in the new town, in Bruntsfield Links, in Leith, it’s too far apart to take in a walking tour, and also some of it isn’t very interesting to look at. So you have to go on a fairly interesting route and come up with a series of tenuous connections to stories. Still we managed to cover the plauge, the first book of sex advice, the founding of the university, Charles Darwin, James Barry, the first women doctors, the discovery of magnetism, evolution, darwinism, and geology. Oh and body snatchers… because of course you can’t do a history of medicine in Edinburgh without body snatching….
The audience seemed interested and enjoyed the tour, and it’s been nice to see some of them again at other Edinburgh Skeptics events since.