Thursday, 18 December 2008

A Doctor in the Family

I have been meaning to add a 'post' for some time now, but I've been distracted by so much happening during my semi-conscious hours. Sounds and pictures of a Traction Engine being tested for 'valve timing', selecting and printing photographs for the annual 'Thanks to volunteers' at the Long Shop Museum, treating myself to a few new 'tech toys' for Christmas. Then having to learn how to use them! Several other chores come to mind, but will over look for the purpose of this entry.

Being at the Long Shop the other day however, gave me a chance to look at the more social side of the Museum rather than the Engineering side that I usually indulge in. I knew off Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, but had not really followed up on her life., but having dressed-up as Frank Garrett for a Schools 'Apprentice Day' event a while back....The children are given a period costume work experience at the Museum for a day. No cars allowed, nor computers to be seen. Discipline and doffing of caps absolutely essential..... the beaming faces showed that they loved it.

Sorry, one of my 'red-herrings' getting in there. Elizabeth was of a tenacious personality, and having set her mind to becoming a Medical Doctor, in fact the very FIRST woman MD in the UK, my mind thoughts turned to my Niece who is a GP. Thus I was reading the booklet as pictured. It was within this narrative that I found a rather weak, but none the less valid link to the Garrett psyche. The Royal Free Hospital in London eventually established a Medical School admitting women to London University degree courses, the year was 1878. The link? Well The Royal Free was were I worked for the Medical Research Council for several years as an electronics design engineer, developing aids for both theater and ward monitoring, as well as a few research projects. True my base was at the Hampstead branch (before the current building was erected, ie. at the original 'Fever Hospital'. But I did travel quite a lot between there and Grays Inn Road, as well as the National Hospital for Neurology, Queens Square. There were also visits to The Maida Vale Hospital. These tenuous links may not mean very much, but it does feel comfortable to share various associations with the past, and who knows, maybe the future. It was from working at the Royal Free that I moved on to become closely linked -work wise- to the lady who started the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. For after she left the BBC, she set-up her own composing studio in Kent, where she set about investigating new ways to create music by electronic means. But that must be for a future BLOG.

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