Volume 30: Medicine and Society in Late Eighteenth-Century Berkshire


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Volume 30: Medicine and Society in Late Eighteenth-Century Berkshire: The Commonplace Book of William Savory of Brightwalton and Newbury, edited by Stuart Eagles

William Savory (1768-1824) strove to become a professionally accredited surgeon-apothecary and man-midwife with his own medical practice in Newbury. Following his marriage in 1791 he compiled a manuscript volume from notebooks, correspondence and diaries. It is a compelling account of his upbringing in Brightwalton, full of observations about the villages, people and events of Downland Berkshire. It is transcribed and published here in full for the first time.

We read about Savory’s schooling and studies, his medical apprenticeship and his training in London’s teaching hospitals. The light he shines on these experiences, and on the day-to-day care he gave his patients, offers valuable testimony to historians of medicine. A rich source for local, family and social historians, this is an informative and entertaining volume enlivened by Savory’s sense of humour. Above all, it is a study in personality focused on one fascinating young man and his journey into early adulthood in late eighteenth-century Berkshire.

In his comprehensive introduction, cultural historian Stuart Eagles draws on Savory’s insights to explore what we can learn about education, health, medical apprenticeship, astrology and witchcraft, women and sexual politics, leisure, music and dance, religion, royalty and politics, transport, crime, disability, and medical training and practice

Stuart Eagles lives in Reading where he was born. He studied at the Universities of Lancaster and Oxford and is a keen local and family historian. He has published widely on the Victorian art and social critic, John Ruskin, and his multiple legacies, reception and influence in Britain and Europe.

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