Holiday Library Update

As more of our students start to drift away from St George’s for the winter break, we’ve put together a quick reminder of some of the resources and study support you can always access from the library, no matter where you are. (Of course, we hope you all get a well-earned break as well!)

1. Find e-books and articles in Hunter

You don’t need to visit the library to use our resources; a large amount of what we offer is online in the form of e-books and electronic journal articles. You can find both through Hunter – if you’re offsite, you’ll just need your SGUL username and password to access them.

(See below to reset a forgotten or expired SGUL password.)

  • select Books and more from the dropdown menu to search for books and e-books. Then choose Online Resources on the left to limit your results to e-books only.
  • select Articles and more from the dropdown menu to search for e-journal articles. Find a specific article using the first few words from the article title, or use search terms to find all available articles on your topic.

Our short video shows you how to log in to access e-books and articles from offsite. There’s also help and a troubleshooting guide on our website.

View our video guide to Accessing resources offsite

Forgotten/expired password?

If you’ve forgotten your SGUL password or it’s expired, you can reset it here. (Please note, you’ll need to have registered an alternate email address to use this link – if you haven’t done this before, email studentlifecentre@sgul.ac.uk to set one up.)

If you’ve registered an alternate address but still can’t reset your password, email ITAV@sgul.ac.uk.

2. Discover online learning tools

Also accessible with your SGUL login are online learning tools – including BMJ Learning, JoVE Science Education, Acland’s Video Atlas of Anatomy and more – that use video, quizzes and other interactive features to enhance your study. Two of our newest resources are highlighted below, or you can view a full list here.

Complete Anatomy is a 3D anatomy app using models and videos, with an extensive library of structures and muscle movements.

Download the app to your device then activate it using the SGUL activation code – you’ll find full instructions in the SGUL Library Canvas module (requires login).


BMJ Learning features hundreds of accredited, peer-reviewed learning modules in text, video and audio formats.

On your first visit you’ll need to sign in with your SGUL login, then create a BMJ personal account. After this, signing in with your SGUL login will take you to your personalised BMJ Learning homepage. Find more information here.

3. Find help with assignments and referencing

If you’re working on an assignment, project or dissertation over the break, we have books that can help with the planning and writing process – including e-books that you can access from anywhere. Click on the Hunter searches below to see what’s available. (Use the Online Resources filter to the left of the results to see e-books only.)

You can also find help with referencing. For a quick overview, the Referencing section in your course-specific LibGuide is a good first stop – find the guide for your course in this list.

For more in-depth guidance on the Harvard referencing system used at St George’s, have a look at our Referencing LibGuide, or the Referencing Essentials Unit in the Library Module in Canvas (requires login). For Vancouver referencing, you can find guidance in the online version of Cite Them Right – just make sure to select Vancouver as you view the sections.

Your liaison librarians can also offer one-to-one advice on all your research and referencing queries. Email your query at any time to liaison@sgul.ac.uk. Even over the Christmas break we can respond to queries until 23rd December, and again from 4th January when the library reopens.

Christmas 2021 Closure Dates

In line with the University closure dates, the Library will close at

5pm on Thursday 23 December and reopen at 8am on Tuesday 4 January 2022.

The computer rooms will be accessible with a valid ID card during this period.

Wishing all library members a peaceful and safe time with your family and friends.

‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’

This blogpost for Explore Your Archive week looks into the connection between a St George’s alumnus and a former Cuban slave in the 19th century. St George’s historical connections to slavery are being reviewed as part of the Institutional Review of Race Equality. Please note that this post contains language that may upset or offend readers. This has been included where necessary as used within the original sources for illustrative purposes. This blogpost is written by St George’s Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi.

The poet Juan Francisco Manzano (1797-1853/54) was born in enslavement on a sugar plantation in Cuba. Richard Robert Madden (1798-1888) was born in Ireland, the youngest of 21 children of a wealthy silk manufacturer, and an alumnus of St George’s.

How did the paths of these two men cross?

Title page of ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

Manzano’s parents, Sofia del Pilar Manzano and Toribio de Castro, were enslaved under Señora Beatriz de Justiz de Santa Ana. Sofia was the chief handmaid of Señora Beatriz, allegedly a relatively privileged position that meant Manzano was not allowed to play with the other slave children at the plantation, although it did not save him from various forms of mental and physical abuse. At some point, Manzano was sold to María de la Concepción, Marquesa del Prado Ameno, who by all accounts was particularly cruel and abusive.

Extract from ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

The accounts on how Manzano escaped slavery are vague and contradictory. Somehow, however, Manzano managed to buy his freedom in 1837, aged 40. Although he had had little power over his life, he had been taught to read and write in his childhood. In one version of the story, his literacy proved to be his salvation, and a group of Cuban reformists, including a plantation owner called Domingo Del Monte, were so impressed by the poetry he had been writing that they eventually bought his freedom.

Del Monte asked him to write down the narrative of his life, although it seems unlikely he was paid for the work. The book could not, however, be published in Cuba or in other Spanish colonies, even after the end of the Spanish rule in 1898 – Cuban economy depended on slave labour on the sugar plantations to such an extent that any accounts that might have a negative impact were banned. It was finally published in 1937 in Cuba, having been passed to the National Library in Havana by Del Monte’s estate.

English translation of Manzano’s poem ‘Mis treinta años’ (‘Thirty years’). Translation by Madden.

Madden, in the meanwhile, had moved to London in 1828, following several years in Italy and the Middle East. He had received £220 for accompanying a tuberculosis patient to England; this money he spent to further his medical studies at St George’s.

Advertisements for lectures at the School of Anatomy and Medicine adjoining St George’s Hospital, 1835. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

He settled down to practice medicine in London, having married Harriet Elmslie, the youngest daughter of a West India merchant and slave owner John Elmslie. In London he joined the Anti-Slavery Society, and eventually gave up the practice of medicine, becoming instead a government civil servant.

He had been educated in Dublin, Paris and London, including at St George’s where he studied at two occasions. The student registers show he enrolled first in 1823 for six months, and returned to St George’s in 1828. On both occasions, Benjamin Brodie was his tutor.

The entry for Richard Robert Madden in St George’s Medical School student register, 1828. SGHMS/4/1/16, Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

In 1833 he travelled to Jamaica to work as a special magistrate for the British Colonial Office: his role was to help resolve disputes between ‘apprentices’, as former enslaved people were known as, and the slave owners, also known as planters. His account describing his experiences was published in 1835 as ‘A Twelvemonth’s Residence in the West Indies, During the Transition from Slavery to Apprenticeship’. Allegedly he visited a plantation owned by his uncle, where he discovered ‘two mulatto cousins’ and learned that another cousin of his had been sold as a slave. In his book and in evidence given to a British parliamentary select committee he denounced the apprenticeship system.

In 1836 Madden was appointed commissioner of liberated slaves in Havana, Cuba, a Spanish colony beholden to Britain since 1814: it is likely in this role that he first met Manzano through Domingo del Monte, who occupied a powerful position as a plantation owner (and hence probably an enslaver as well) in the society.

He took it upon himself to translate Manzano’s account into English. The resulting book was published in Britain in 1840, and was called ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated: Translated from the Spanish by R.R. Madden, with the History of the early Life of the Negro Poet Written by Himself’. Madden himself writes that the text

‘was presented to me in the year 1838 by a gentleman at Havana, a Creole […] some of these pieces had fortunately found their way to Havana, and attracted the attention of the literary people there, while the poor author was in slavery […] The gentleman to whom I have alluded […] redeemed this poor fellow from slavery […] [and] induced him to write his story’

Part of the glossary in ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

Although slavery had officially been abolished in Britain and the British colonies in 1833 by the Slavery Abolition Act (following the Slave Trade Act of 1807 prohibiting slave trade), the transitional concept of ‘apprenticeship’ however in many ways was simply a continuation of slavery. Nor did the market for sugar and other goods produced with slave labour cease, and Britain continued to trade with countries such as Cuba, where slavery was not abolished until 1886.

In 1840, Madden spoke at first  World Anti-Slavery Convention, delivering a report on Cuban slavery. He had stated as his aim in publishing Manzano’s work to ‘vindicate in some degree the character of the negro intellect, at least the attempt affords me an opportunity of recording my conviction, that the blessings of education and good government are only wanting to make the Natives of Africa, intellectually and morally, equal to any people on the surface of the globe’.

Both Del Monte and Madden appropriated Manzano’s work for their own purposes, which for Del Monte may have included using abolitionism as a means of ensuring that the numbers of black Africans in Cuba would not surpass the number of white Europeans. Madden tailored his translation to his British audience, who wanted to distance themselves from slavery: it was easier to read about atrocities committed by other nations, in an exotic location and via a translated text from another language. His edition omitted certain details, including names, places and dates, as well as instances of brutality.

By highlighting his own role in the edition (where the title does not even include Manzano’s name) Madden placed himself in the position of authority and power: as a white saviour. Moreover, in the book he first presents two of his own poems, ‘The Slave Trade Merchant’ and ‘The Sugar Estate’, turning himself into the author in the process. From the perspective of a British abolitionist, it is almost as if British slavery never existed.

Table of contents of ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.

What happened to Manzano and Madden after this?

Madden went on to work for the British Colonial Office, first as a special commissioner of inquiry in the British colonies on the western coast of Africa on Gambia River and the Gold Coast (hub for slave trade since the 17th century), and then as colonial secretary in Western Australia. He published several more books on a variety of subjects, including burial practices and the United Irishmen. In 1849 he returned to Dublin, where he spent the rest of his life as the secretary of the Loan Fund Board at the Dublin Castle: he never appears to have returned to medical practice. He died in 1886, aged 87.

We know much less of what happened to Manzano. A play written by him, Zafira, was published in 1842. He was married, twice, first to Marcelina Campos, then, in 1835, to María del Rosario, whose family, according to some sources, disapproved of the marriage due to Manzano’s status as an enslaved person and his dark skin colour. He was arrested in 1844 and jailed for about a year, along with thousands of others, suspected of involvement in a revolutionary conspiracy. He died in 1853 or 1854. Although much has been written about Manzano, these accounts tend to focus on his writing and not on his life, and details of his later life are difficult to find.

Sources and further reading:

Almeida, Joselyn. 2011. ‘Translating a Slave’s Life: Richard Robert Madden and the Post-Abolition Trafficking of Juan Manzano’s Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba’. Romantic Circles.

Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery. ‘John Elmslie senior’.

Encyclopedia.com. ‘Manzano, Juan Francisco’

Engle, Margarita. 2006. ‘Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano’

Manzano, Juan Francisco and Madden, Richard Robert. 1840. ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated: Translated from the Spanish by R.R. Madden, with the History of the early Life of the Negro Poet Written by Himself’.

Molloy, Sylvia. 1989. ‘From Serf to Self: The Autobiography of Juan Francisco Manzano’. MLN 104(2): 393-417.

Miller, Marilyn Grace, 2010. ‘Reading Juan Francisco Manzano in the wake of Alexander von Humboldt’. Atlantic Studies 7(2):163-189.

Moore, Raymond. 2012. Edited by Laurel Howard, Austin Arminio, W.J. Shepherd, 2018.  ‘Richard Robert Madden: An inventory of the Richard Robert Madden Papers at the Special Collections of the University Libraries at the Catholic University of America’. The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C

Murray, David R. 1972. ‘Richard Robert Madden: His Career as a Slavery Abolitionist’. Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review 61(241):41-53.

Salama, Carmen. 2020. ‘Between Subject and Object: The Identity of a Slave in Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiography’. Journal of Global Initiatives 15 (1):6-15

The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), San Francisco. ‘Juan Francisco Manzano’.

Wikipedia. ‘Juan Francisco Manzano’

— ‘Richard Robert Madden’

Woods, C.J. 2009. ‘Madden, Richard Robert’. Dictionary of Irish Biography.

Keep informed (but not overwhelmed) with KnowledgeShare for NHS staff

KnowledgeShare logo

Information overload is common within the NHS 1, where an overwhelming plethora of  healthcare evidence is created and shared daily.  

KnowledgeShare,  a new evidence updating service available to St George’s Trust staff, can help filter out all the noise and connect you with targeted publications relevant to your role. 

By setting up a KnowledgeShare profile, you’ll receive an email alerting you to targeted reports, guidelines and research articles from curated, high-quality, high-level sources. 

It’s an easy way of keeping up-to-date with new publications without being overloaded with information thus saving you time in keeping your practice and delivery up-to-date,  improving the quality of the care and service you deliver every day, helping you  provide the right care, every time. 

Here’s what other NHS staff have said about KnowledgeShare:

“Thank you so much for this really relevant and something inspiring to read in my inbox!”

– Clinical Psychologist

“I must say this is a brilliant service I read these briefly on the way to the train station; a great method of CPD. Much appreciated”

– Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Acute Hospital Trust.

To see what KnowledgeShare can do for you, sign-up today and let us know your interests such as:

  • conditions or risk factors 
  • setting of interest 
  • non-clinical professional interest such as education, patient safety, manpower management etc 
  • patient population groups such as children or adults 

Once we’ve received your form, we’ll send you emails with the latest guidelines, reports and high-level research on conditions and treatment options and improved methods of service delivery. 

Many of the papers highlighted in KnowledgeShare will be available in full text via OpenAthens, or simply available password-free on the web. For anything else try our NHS Article Request service, and where possible we will send you a PDF or details on how to request it via our interlibrary loan service.

KnowledgeShare is currently available to St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust employees. We hope you find KnowledgeShare will invigorate your practice, service delivery and CPD: we welcome your feedback

Getting further help. 

For more information visit the KnowledgeShare website 

KnowledgeShare – Welcome to KnowledgeShare 

Or contact:

Karen John-Pierre, NHS and liaison manager, St George’s Library 

kjohn@sgul.ac.uk 

References 

1. Sbaffi L, Walton J, Blenkinsopp J, Walton G. Information Overload in Emergency Medicine Physicians: A Multisite Case Study Exploring the Causes, Impact, and Solutions in Four North England National Health Service Trusts. J Med Internet Res. 2020 Jul 27;22(7):e19126. doi: 10.2196/19126. PMID: 32716313; PMCID: PMC7418008. 

Open Access Week 2021: It Matters How We Open Knowledge

This week is Open Access Week! This year’s theme is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity”, focusing on how to make sure all knowledge producers and consumers are able to participate equally. To find out more about this year’s theme and keep up with conversations and events, visit www.openaccessweek.org, and keep an eye on the official hashtag, #OAWeek.

We’ll be tweeting and retweeting from the library Twitter account, @sgullibrary, throughout the week, and if you’d like to see posts we’ve made in previous years, take a look at the Open Access Week tag.

Graphic advertising this year's Open Access Week; text reads 'Open Access Week 2021, It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity, October 25-31'

Open access and open research are about making sure that knowledge is shared as freely and equitably as possible.

The theme of this year’s open access week intentionally aligns with the recently released UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. The recommendations put forward a framework to support scientific collaboration, and foster open practices, raising the profile of being “open” at an international level.

Students, researchers, academics may all be consumers or producers of research. Open science can mean making publications and data available, but it’s also about enabling a more collaborative, transparent research environment – where results are reproducible and researchers can easily access and build upon each other’s work – and where research is opened up to others such as charities, patient groups, and citizen science.

Photo of two people's hands leaning on some documents on a table. One person has a pencil to edit the documents, the angle of the other person's body suggests they are observing.
Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Here at SGUL, we support open access via our institutional repository, SORA, which holds over 6000 full text articles by SGUL researchers past and present, with more articles being made available every day. And open research isn’t just about articles – we also support open research via our Research Data Repository, which can host not only research data, but also source code, poster presentations and more. Take a look at these recent posts from our Research Data Support Manager to learn more about managing your research data and using the Research Data Repository:

We’ve also signed up for a number of read and publish deals, which allow SGUL staff and students to both read content in these publishers’ journals and publish open access in them with no additional costs (subject to eligibility criteria). See our webpages for a full list of our deals, along with further information on eligibility and how to access them.

Several well known research funders have launched open publishing platforms, where researchers they fund can publish their results quickly and without direct cost for publication. These include:

These platforms also allow for open peer review – to bring greater transparency and diversity to the peer review process. Registering for the ORCID open identifier enables you to showcase peer reviewing work you have undertaken.

Want to get involved?

Here’s some things to think about to help make research more open:

  • For SGUL researchers with access to CRIS, upload your accepted manuscripts via the CRIS so they can be made open access in SORA (and encourage your colleagues to do the same).
  • Consider whether you could publish via an open research platform, and consider who is invited to peer review (for instance, Wellcome Open Research encourages discussion with the editorial team to help with diversity of reviewers).
  • Think about other research outputs you could make available on the SGUL data repository: e.g. datasets, protocols, code, posters and presentations.
  • If you’re on the editorial board for any journals, can you advocate for reduced embargo periods, lower APCS or APC waiver policies for researchers with no source of funding?
  • Join the conversation via the twitter hashtag #OAWeek – or start a conversation with your colleagues in person!

Any questions? Get in touch with us:

We look forward to hearing from you.

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

Liz Stovold, Research Data Support Manager

Mental Health Awareness Week – Reading to support wellbeing

It is Mental Health Awareness Week from 10th to 16th May and this year the Mental Health Foundation has chosen nature as the theme.

This is our second blogpost for Mental Health Awareness Week. To find out about your library team’s thoughts on what nature means to them and their wellbeing in words and pictures, have a look at our previous blogpost. Check out the hashtag #ConnectwithNature on social media. We will be sharing posts around Mental Health Awareness Week all week on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Decorative image of person reading in a field.

A great way to support your mental wellbeing is through reading. Especially during busy periods such as exam and essay writing weeks, it is important that you take time away from work to just relax.

Reading a good novel or poetry can certainly help with that which is why the library has developed a whole collection around reading for pleasure. In addition to medical and healthcare textbooks, we also have books you might find in any public library: good novels, poetry and contemporary non-fiction for when you want to take a break from your studies.

Some highlights from our reading for pleasure collection around the theme of nature are listed below.

  • Step by Step: The Life in My Journeys by Simon Reeve. Find out the shelf mark here. The author talks about his own mental health struggles and how he has found wellbeing in walking some of the most remote parts of the world. Perfect for adventurers!
  • Feral: Rewilding the land, the sea and human life by George Monbiot. Find out the shelf mark here. An environmental journalist talks about the importance of rewilding in the UK and across the world, reengaging with nature and discovering a new way of life which is much more in tune with nature.
  • The sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur. Find the shelf mark here. A beautiful collection of poems in which the natural world plays a big role.
  • Dream Work by Mary Oliver. Find the shelf mark here. One of the finest contemporary poets, Mary Oliver who won a Pulitzer Prize, writes about the natural world with reverence and playfulness. This collection focuses on the work of self-exploration.
Decorative image of person reading on a bench outside.

Reading a good novel or poetry can certainly help with that which is why the library has developed a whole collection around reading for pleasure. In addition to medical and healthcare textbooks, we also have books you might find in any public library: good novels, poetry and contemporary non-fiction for when you want to take a break from your studies.

Specific Wakelets, or lists, we have created, that you might find interesting in this regard are books for Health and Wellbeing , Mood-Boosting books and the Big Read collection.

Mental Health Awareness Week – what nature means to library staff

From 10th to 16th May 2021 is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the Mental Health Foundation has chosen nature as the theme.

Check out the hashtag #connectwithnature on social media. We will be sharing posts around Mental Health Awareness Week all week on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In this blogpost, your library team highlights in sentences and images what nature means to them and their mental wellbeing.

Over the last year, many of us have become more aware of our relationship with nature, be that our balcony, garden, local park, forest, the beach or mountains. More than an appreciation of the small things in life, the last year has shown that we are inextricably part of nature and that nature plays a central role in our emotional and physical wellbeing. It has also become clear that access to and time in nature is often still for the privileged few, despite the fact that we all benefit enormously. Nature is not a luxury but must be available to all of us. Perhaps our appreciation for the natural world over the last year in combination with our increasing and continued damage to our planet has given us food for thought. In this sense, access to nature for mental wellbeing is a social justice and environmental issue.

With this blogpost, we want to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing and the role that nature can play in that. We want to normalise conversations around how we are doing and that at times, we might not be doing so well emotionally or mentally.

What does nature mean to us and our mental wellbeing?

Sue – Associate Director of Information Services (Library & Learning Services)

Escape from the rat race
Space to think
Inspiring awe
A step away from the mundane
Tiny miracles
Expanding our horizons

Rocks on the beach in Hastings
at the beach in Hastings

Karen – NHS and Liaison Manager

Accessing local green spaces has helped me and my children digitally detox during intensive times of home-learning and home-working this past year

Emily (Information Assistant)

During the first lock down, when you were only allowed an hour outside a day, I tried to ensure I took my kids out for some sort of walk every day to get a bit of exercise and fresh air.  Being outside helped us to stay feeling connected to the world and I think feel somehow reassured that the sun still came out, the rain still fell, the trees still stood, and the flowers grew. It was a sense of some normality in the chaos that nature still carried on. It made us appreciate every little bit of green space nearby.  We always returned from outside feeling more hopeful.

Anna – Liaison Librarian (FHSCE)

Conversations about nature tend to cheer people up, and are a vehicle for a non-stressful chat with colleagues.

Stephen – Liaison Support Librarian (NHS)

Regarding the question of nature, I suppose the first impulse is to think of the outdoors in some of its grander forms (beaches, mountains, forests, etc.) before then considering those havens of nature which may be nearby to us (parks, commons, woods) which, given that ‘more than one in five households in London has no access to a private or shared garden‘, offer invaluable resources in support of health and wellbeing. 

Even more locally than these, however, is the nature that can (should?) be brought into the home (and work) environment. For the good that plants can do in cleaning indoor air; for the connection that tending plants offers to a larger living world; and for the aesthetic contribution that plants can make to any indoor space, my shout out goes to the humble (or showy) houseplant.

Jennifer – Research Publications Librarian

White blossom; blue sky

Delicate petals fall and

Again, I will sigh.

Photo of tree blossoms
Blossom

Louise – Helpdesk supervisor

I like to be out in nature – in the outside, wandering in the woods – always nicer in the sunshine of course but I love lifting my face to the wind in early Autumn.

The main thing I think is how nature affects your senses;

Smell –  fresh rain – especially in the summer, flowers, freshly cut grass, even those ‘farmyard’ smells just make you think of nature in general.

Sight – new blossom on trees, the changing colours of leaves in the Autumn, freshly laid snow in Winter. Seeing newborns – ducklings/Goslings growing, tadpoles changing into frogs.

Touch – feeling grasses, petals even different textured tree trunks, pebbles, stones, sand beneath your bare feet.

Hearing – the most obvious is the bird call of course. Although noting beats the sea crashing on the shore if you are by the coast, or even the gentler shushing of waves.

Ros – User Experience & Operations Manager

Two children with their backs turned away from the camera, running along a forest path with bluebells on either side.

Dan – Information Assistant

It’s always good to get out of the house whether its just to the park over the road or a car trip to the beach. Its about being out in the fresh air and looking at the trees and green or being by the Sea. I always feel better after I’ve been outside even if its just for an hour or two. It certainly improves my day. The dog loves it too!

Juulia – Archivist

Here is a composite of photos I’ve taken across the year of the trees in a nearby woods. Having access to a green space has definitely been a lifeline, and doing more or less the same walk every day has made me focus on the seasonal changes, and on all the small details you might otherwise miss. And it has made me really appreciate how you can find beauty maybe in some unexpected places – my local cemetery is absolutely brimming with nature & life!

Composite of photos of trees across the seasons

James – Liaison Support Librarian (FHSCE)

When I’m outside in nature my mind becomes quiet and I have the opportunity to become aware of something bigger than myself. When I’m not so focused on me and my story, I can really begin to relax and start to let go of built-up tensions.

Georgie – Information Assistant

I’ve become a member of Kew Gardens in the last year and it’s been wonderful to be able to spend time in such a beautiful place. I had a lovely, quiet, peaceful walk there on Sunday morning.

Picture of bluebells and trees in the sunshine at Kew Gardens.
At Kew Gardens

Alex – Project Archivist

I think to me, nature reminds me that I am part of something bigger, something beautiful. It makes me feel extremely lucky and full of joy but as I have gotten older that joy tends to be tinged with a bit of sadness and frustration at how often we mistreat it and take it for granted. Over the last year I have loved seeing people, myself included, reconnect with nature and take pleasure in simply being outside, but I have also seen how much nature has become a privilege that not everyone has equal access to and that it is very easy to be cut off from in modern cities. Being surrounded by nature, I would say, is extremely good for my mental wellbeing, but it is not always an entirely positive experience and sometimes I do leave it feeling slightly weighed down by my responsibility to do more to protect what I have seen.

Anne – Liaison Support Librarian (IMBE)

A chance to connect with something beyond myself
Miracles of colours, textures, sounds
The abundance of life away from a screen
Sharing the joy of nature with others
A spiritual practice and gratitude
Watching seedlings grow

Nothing new under the sun: 1870s style contact tracing and smallpox vaccinations

Opening Up the Body’ is a Wellcome-funded project to conserve the Post Mortem Examinations and Case Books of St George’s Hospital, 1841-1946. Our Archive team have been cataloguing and digitising records dating from 1841-1921.This blogpost was written by Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi.

 ‘It is difficult to imagine a more favourable opportunity than the one recently afforded us here, of investigating the laws of an epidemic disease such as the one we have just experienced’

Thomas Jones, ‘On the Recent Outbreak of Smallpox at St George’s Hospital’ (1870)

‘Contact tracing’ has in the past year become a phrase that is surely now familiar to us all. As a concept, however, it’s nothing new. In this blogpost, we’ll take a look at how St George’s reacted to a smallpox epidemic at the hospital.

In November 1870, smallpox cases started spreading within St George’s hospital. The infected patients had all been admitted for other causes, and had all been in the hospital for a long time – somewhere between two weeks and four months. It seemed clear the disease was being somehow transmitted among the patients, but as the cases occurred in different wards and floors with no direct contact between the patients, the route of transmission was a mystery.

Photo of St George's Hospital at Hyde Park Corner
Image 1. St George’s Hospital at Hyde Park Corner, London. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

Generally, patients with infectious diseases were sent to specialised hospitals to prevent the spread in more general hospitals. Two of these so-called fever hospitals were the Fountain Hospital and the Grove Hospital, which stood side by side on the site now occupied by St George’s in Tooting. The Fountain Hospital was established by the Metropolitan Asylums Board (MAB) in 1893 in response to a scarlet fever epidemic, and later became a mental hospital for children. The Grove Fever Hospital opened in 1899; in 1954 it became the Tooting branch of St George’s. The last remaining buildings are now being demolished.

Photo of architectural drawing showing Fountain Grove Fever Hospital, Tooting Graveney
Image 2. Architectural drawing showing ‘The Fountain Grove Fever Hospital, Tooting Graveney’. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.
Left-hand side: aerial photo of St George's site with Fountain and Grove Hospitals in 1930s
Right-hand side: view of final buildings being demolished March 2021.
Image 3. An aerial view of St George’s site with Fountain and Grove Hospitals in the 1930s, and a view of the final buildings being demolished on a grey day in March 2021. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

Tracing the epidemic

Sarah M., 23, was admitted into St George’s hospital on 28 Sep 1870 for ‘syphilitic laryngitis’. For several weeks, she was given potassium iodide. The first smallpox eruptions appeared nearly two months after her initial admission, and were first thought to be a side effect of her medication. When her condition became apparent, she was quarantined in a separate room in the basement of the hospital, her bed and bedlinen were disinfected, and she was moved back to the workhouse she had come from only a few days later (which sounds like not very effective quarantine practice, but we’ll come back to that later).

Thomas Jones, MD, wrote an article on the outbreak in St George’s Hospital and Medical School Annual Reports, which consisted not only of reports of specifically relating to St George’s (despite the name), but also of articles by the staff of St George’s and external contributors. These were printed and widely distributed, and have been digitised by HathiTrust from copies held at Harvard University and University of Michigan: we are very grateful for this, especially now when our access to our own physical archives remains sporadic! Jones had only gained his MD earlier that year from St George’s, and was working at the hospital  as resident medical officer and anaesthetist.

Photo of text of St George's Hospital reports.
Image 4. Thomas Jones, ‘On the Recent Outbreak of Smallpox at St George’s Hospital’ (1870). St George’s Hospital reports, vol. 5 (1870). Full text available via HathiTrust and SGHMS/6/1/5, Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

The article details the cases of the infected patients, with remarks on whether the patient in question had been vaccinated:

‘CASE XV. Mary H., æt. 12, admitted December 12, Drummond Ward. Suffering from knocked-knees. Smallpox eruption, very modified, appeared on January 9th. Discharged convalescent, January 31st. Vaccinated in infancy; vaccine cicatrices of excelled quality.’

‘Case XIX. Florence B., æt.19, admitted December 14th, Crayle Ward. Eczema. Smallpox eruption, which was distinct, appeared on January 14th. Was re-vaccinated on the same day. The attack was rather severe. There was no trace of the re-vaccination on the seventh day. Was vaccinated in infancy; one vaccine mark of bad quality. Has made a good recovery.’

There were altogether 27 cases, of which 20 were cases of transmission within the hospital, whose symptoms appeared between 25 Nov and 15 Jan. In addition, there were three patients who were admitted with smallpox between 12 Jan and 8 Feb, and four who showed symptoms only after having been discharged from the hospital initially.

Post mortems

Of these 27, six died. They were all said to have been suffering from various underlying conditions, including softening of the spinal cord, heart disease, pyelitis and congested lungs; one was recovering from an operation and one, a 23-year old probationer nurse at St George’s called Christiana S. in the article, was said to be ‘of a delicate constitution’ and in ‘a weak state of health’. Three of these six had been vaccinated.

The death of Christiana S., or Christina Stewart, was recorded in the St George’s post mortem books, although there are no case notes as no post mortem was performed – not uncommon when it came to hospital staff. Her cause of death is recorded as ‘Variola’, another name for smallpox.

Photo of post mortem case notes of James Jennings.
Image 5. Post mortem case notes of James Jennings, 37, Pork butcher, PM/1871/12. Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

One of the unfortunate people who died was James Jennings. His occupation in his post mortem notes was recorded as ‘pork butcher’, and he had been suffering from a feeling of tightness around his abdomen and increasing weakness in his legs for some time; he was also partially paralysed on his hands and legs:

‘He walked to the train on day of admission but says that while in the carriage he felt a sudden sensation of coldness all over, & on reaching London found that he had entirely lost power in the legs’

His treatment included potassium iodide and belladonna. The rash appearing on his skin was initially attributed to the belladonna he had been receiving, rather than smallpox. He died 8 Jan 1871, a couple of days after the appearance of the pustules signifying a smallpox infection, ‘in spite of wine, which was freely administered’. The post mortem found no evidence that he had been vaccinated against smallpox.

The other deaths recorded include that of Ellen Collier, a milliner (whose body was not examined) and David Edwards, a groom, who became delirious and died after being moved to the temporary smallpox ward which had been set up on the top floor of the hospital.

The two other deaths occurred outside the hospital, and are not recorded in the post mortems. Michael S., 48, had been discharged from the hospital 28 Dec; he had spent the following night at Vauxhall-bridge-road, before returning home to Fellday, Dorking. He died 12 Jan 1871, and was examined by a local doctor in Dorking. John T. was only three years old, and had had lithotomy performed on him. Whilst at the hospital, he developed a sore throat, which was assumed to be due to ‘hospital air’ and was sent home, where he died less than a week after the appearance of the smallpox pustules. He had not been vaccinated.

Prevention and tracing the origins of the epidemic

The measures taken at the hospital to mitigate the spread of the disease included isolation of the infected patients: after the first three cases, a convalescent ward on the top floor was set up as a smallpox unit. The ward had dedicated nurses, and no visitors were allowed: the medical officer in charge visited this ward after all his other rounds. Particular attention was also paid to disinfecting the hospital:

‘For the atmosphere of the whole Hospital has been so thoroughly impregnated with carbolic acid, from sheets steeped in it and hung before the door of each ward, and from the floors being washed with a weak solution of the acid, that it has positively been painful to some with very sensitive organs of smell.’

The initial assumption was that the disease had been brought in by visitors, as it was known that smallpox was circulating in the neighbourhood, having, according to the Medical Officer of Health report, been introduced by a governess returning from Paris. Visitors were therefore banned from the wards, unless there were special reasons, i.e. the patient they were visiting was very ill.

Jones set up to detect the origin of the disease. Assuming the incubation period to be 13×24 hours (or 14 days), from the infection to the appearance of an eruption, he managed to trace patient zero, or Case I, Sarah M., who had spent 11 weeks at the hospital.

On 10 Nov, however, she had been allowed to leave the hospital for a few hours to visit a friend, who was later ascertained to have smallpox. Sarah had, however, since been moved back to the workhouse (there is no note in the article of whether the workhouse also suffered from an outbreak, but it is hard to imagine it did not), and Cases II and III did not appear until three weeks later, on a different floor – so how was it possible that the disease continued to spread at the hospital? Moreover, the cases continued to spread even after the visitor ban and the ‘rigidly observed’ quarantine measures.

Did it spread through the air? This theory was dismissed as unlikely, since the cases were so spread over different floors and wards. All other theories were similarly dismissed, and after careful investigation, the only common factor between the cases appeared to be the days when bed-linen was changed.

The linen was changed on Mondays and Thursdays: the dirty linen was sent out to be washed on Thursdays and returned, clean, the following Thursday. One sheet was used on that day, and another clean sheet on the following Monday. This theory seemed to account for the majority of the cases, with a few exceptions, one of which included the hospital carpenter, who may instead have caught the disease through contact with one of the patients.

This led to Jones concluding that the disease was infectious even before any eruptions appeared, and thus any cases of fever during an epidemic should be closely monitored to enable early isolation and disinfection.

Linen was supposed to be washed in boiling water, but, whether or not that actually happened (and washing the linen for the hospital was not an easy or light task!) this, it was concluded, was ‘not sufficient to destroy the fever-poison’. Carbolic acid, however, appears to have worked, as the sheets of the patients known to be infected were steeped in carbolic acid before being sent to the laundry.

Picture of nurses in the laundry of a hospital from 191?
Image 7. Nurses in the laundry of a hospital. Photograph, 191-.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Vaccination

The main conclusion, however, was to do with vaccination, and in particular re-vaccination:

‘This outbreak … supplies us with farther evidence, if any were required, of the protective power of re-vaccination against smallpox’

Indeed, as the disease spread, it was decided that all the nurses and patients at the hospital should immediately be vaccinated. The vaccination programme was commenced on 13 January 1871, and by March, the measures taken appeared to have stopped the spread of the epidemic.

A follow-up article by obstetric assistant Richard Wilson examines how the vaccination programme was conducted. Three methods were used:

  • Puncturing: ‘by grasping the arm (usually the left) with the left hand, drawing the skin tense, and then making from four to five punctures down to the cutis-vera with an arrow-headed lancet’;
  • Abrasion or scratching, using an ‘ordinary bleeding-lancet’: ‘two or three small parallel scratches were made …. the lymph, if liquid, was then rubbed well in with the point of the lancet; if points were used, these were first moistened by the breath, and rubbed into the different scratches’; and
  • Vesication, using ‘blistering fluid’ the night before the vaccination to make small blisters: ‘on the following day they were priced to allow the serum to exude, and then the lymph was applied to the raw surface’.

The scratching method appeared to be most effective, although it was prone to produce severe inflammation in the elderly or those with other health conditions.

Photo of book page with text and a drawing of the effect of inoculation against smallpox from 1789.
Image 8. Edward Jenner, ‘Causes and Effects of Variolae Vaccinae’ (1798), showing the effect of inoculation against smallpox. RB/285, Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

The quality of the ‘vaccine marks’ or ‘cicatrices’ appears of particular interest, with ‘good marks’ equating, it was speculated, to stronger protection and increasing the likelihood of a mild form of the disease. ‘Bad’ marks were smooth and shiny, or hardly visible at all: the stronger and more visible the mark, it was thought, the stronger the protection. The vast majority of the staff and patients had already been vaccinated at some point in their lives, most of them in infancy.

Photos of two pages of books with text from St George's Archives.
Image 9. Montagu, Mary Wortley. ‘The Works of the Right Honourable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’ (1805 [1785]), with a description of a ‘smallpox party’ in Istanbul. RB/317, Archives and Special Collections, St George’s, University of London.

Smallpox epidemics were common throughout the 19th century, despite Edward Jenner, a St George’s alumnus, having developed smallpox vaccination in 1796. He was not the first one to attempt to treat the disease, one of the deadliest in history. Mary Montagu introduced the idea of inoculation from Turkey to Britain in the early 1700s. Smallpox was not eradicated until 1973, and to date remains the only human disease to have been eradicated by vaccination.


Decorative St George's archives banner

If you are interested receiving updates from the Library and the St George’s Archives project, you can subscribe to the Library Blog using the Follow button or click here for further posts from the Archives.

New Read and Publish deals for 2021

Since last year’s announcements, SGUL Library has expanded our number of “Read and Publish” deals, giving SGUL researchers even more opportunities to publish open access – this year we have new arrangements with publishers such as Oxford University Press, BMJ Publishing and Cambridge University Press, in addition to others such as Springer and Wiley.

Under these Read and Publish deals, open access fees for publishing original research in many journals from participating publishers are waived.

The deals are called read and publish because the institution has paid for SGUL staff and students to have access to read articles in the subscription journals covered, PLUS, where the SGUL researcher is the corresponding author, research articles can be published under a Creative Commons licence at no extra cost. This is visualised below:

Image shows a large green circle containing a smaller blue circle, containing an even smaller yellow circle. The largest circle is labelled 'university subscription', the middle circle is labelled 'Read articles' and the smallest 'Publish open access'.

To be eligible to publish open access, you’ll need to be the corresponding author on the paper, and either a member of St George’s, University of London staff, or a student at St George’s, University of London. You’ll be expected to use your SGUL affiliation on any articles where the fee is waived under this scheme. Guidance on acknowledging affiliation is contained in SGUL’s Research Publications Policy.

Corresponding authors who are members of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust staff with honorary status at SGUL won’t normally qualify for these deals, although if the paper acknowledges a UK funder and a co-author with a relevant grant is based at SGUL, the paper may still qualify – please contact us for further advice.

As well as increasing the opportunities for SGUL researchers to make their research openly available, these deals will also help researchers to comply with funder mandates to publish open access (a CC-BY licence will usually be the one to select for funded research papers).

Which publishers are included in these new deals?

  • BMJ Publishing, including titles such as Archives of Disease in Childhood, Gut, Heart and Sexually Transmitted Infections (your research must be acknowledging one or more specific UK funders to qualify). Note: This deal does not include open access waivers for publishing in the BMJ, or wholly open access titles.
  • Cambridge University Press, including titles such as British Journal of Psychiatry, Cardiology in the Young, Epidemiology & Infection and Twin Research and Human Genetics.
  • Oxford University Press, including titles such as Brain, Clinical Infectious Diseases, European Heart Journal, Human Molecular Genetics, Journal of Infectious Diseases and Virus Evolution.
  • The American Physiological Society, including titles such as American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology and American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Researchers will also be eligible for a one year APS membership.

See our webpages for further information on the publishers and journals included in these deals, and information on how to apply.

Open Research Platforms

As well as these opportunities to publish open access, a growing number of funders are providing open research platforms for researchers to publish the results of their research rapidly. These include:

Are you funded by the Wellcome Trust?

If you are funded by the Wellcome Trust, remember that their open access policy has changed for journal articles submitted from 1st January 2021. All original, peer reviewed research articles funded by the Wellcome Trust and submitted from this date must be made freely available via PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the final publication date, and must be published under a CC BY license (unless Wellcome has agreed to the use of a CC BY-ND license).

The following statement must be included on original, peer reviewed research articles funded by Wellcome and submitted from 1st January 2021:

“This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.”

This rights retention strategy, developed by cOAlition S, will allow Wellcome funded authors to publish in their choice of journal, while also complying with the Wellcome Trust’s new open access policy.

COAlition S have also produced this graphic to explain the rights retention strategy.

For more information on Wellcome’s open access policy, have a look at our Library web page setting out the key points you need to know.

Questions?

Contact us at openaccess@sgul.ac.uk

Or see our Open Access FAQs webpage

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

If you are interested receiving updates from the Library on all things open access, open data and scholarly research communications, you can subscribe to the Library Blog using the Follow button or click here for further posts from us.

Big Read 2021: ‘Airhead’ reviews by the St George’s community

Decorative logo for the Big Read project at St George's

This year, Emily Maitlis’s book Airhead : the imperfect art of making news was chosen as St George’s University’s Big Read book. The Big Read is a shared reading project to foster a sense of belonging among staff and students. It is not too late to claim your free e-book copy. Visit our website to find out more.

Since the beginning of the academic year we have had a number of engaging events around the Big Read. We have met for book clubs (there’s another one on the 28th April). People from across the institution organised discussions around some of the themes covered by the book such as the environment, grief, meditation and movement. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Emily Maitlis to St George’s and hearing from her directly as she was interviewed by two St George’s students. You can find the recording of that session here.

Airhead is a collection of Emily Maitlis’s accounts of meeting world-famous people, reporting on significant world events and investigating important topics of the day. As such, the book lends itself perfectly to reviews as each of us will have chapters that resonate more than others.

Book cover for Airhead by Emily Maitlis

Below you can read a selection of chapter reviews from members across the St George’s community.

Dan Jeffcote (Information Assistant) – David Attenborough: One hour in a hot-air balloon

The interview took place just after the BBC released “Planet Earth II”.  The programme features incredible camera-work and increasingly there is a sense of urgency about the effects of climate change on the planet in his work.

In the interview he discusses issues such as the ozone layer, plastic, building in wildlife habitats and population growth. He is clearly passionate about using scientific evidence to explain climate change. He is well known for his gift for narration and as an adventurer but its his calmness, thoughtfulness and wisdom that come across in this chapter.

His message appears to be we have at this moment in time a choice to either “destroy” or “cherish” our heritage.  Emily Maitlis describes her one hour with him as an interview that calms her soul.

Alina Apostu (Student Experience Officer) – A few words on Jon Stewart and the creature of the news

I suppose one question is ‘What is it like? What is it like to meet all those people in person?’

She, Emily Maitlis, does a good job at giving you a sense of how that might be … but it’s a different feeling that she makes real for the reader …

While all the names in Airhead are big names, my first chapter to read was the one about Jon Steward. I like Jon Stewart. A lot. I like his work, his humour, his voice (both metaphorically and literally). So I echoed Maitlis’ hopes that ‘I do not want to find out he’s a complete muppet in real life. That his thoughts are all tightly scripted, his jokes pre-prepped. I am desperate, in other words, not to be disappointed.’ (p.60).

In the chapter, Maitlis moves so swiftly from mention of his film, Rosewater, and the story behind it of the incarcerated Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, to the different implications of writing news and writing satire, to his political convictions, to the relationship to his father, to his retirement from the Daily Show, to his view of Islamism, to the effects news have on people’s actual lives, to how he thinks (or doesn’t) about the audience. Eight topics in what feels like a glimpse of a meeting.

As I read, the feeling that became real was of that rush, that rush of the news, of the need to ‘get it’, of the clock-ticking… the book doesn’t lie, it is about the imperfect art of making news, and it felt that whom I met was not so much Jon Stewart but something else … an entity, a creature of the news that takes hold of everything, that brings interviewer and interviewee together in a quick exchange, moving oh so swiftly between philosophical questions, practical implications in real life and personal, intimate histories. Not sure how I feel about that creature …

Sue David (Associate Director of Information Services (Library & Learning Services)) – Rachel Dolezal: the black human activist who turned out to be white

I have enjoyed Emily Maitlis’s book Airhead, with its broad range of issues and personalities and its insight into the frantic life of a journalist – her emotional rollercoaster and personal struggles and juggles.

I found this chapter particularly thought provoking in the context of my own journey towards an understanding of issues associated with racism which have recently been brought to the fore, but which have been part of the British narrative for centuries.

Rachel is a complicated character with a host of interwoven complexities following her abusive upbringing and the negligence and despair she suffered as a child.  That she finds solace in a role as a substitute mother to four adopted black siblings in whose culture she become immersed is a fascinating insight into someone who is looking for a sense of belonging and a need to escape from her own reality.

Emily Maitlis treats Rachel with empathy and compassion.  She does not try to sensationalise her story and has split loyalties, understanding what others will be expecting from the interview – and they are disappointed.  The vitriolic responses to Rachel and the interview are deeply upsetting and have a personal impact on Maitlis who feels an inner need to protect the person behind the story.

This is an example of a hugely complex story which cannot be tackled from a single perspective.  Here the issues “had overtaken the person at the centre”, but the focus of the interview was Rachel and Emily Maitlis treats her subject with sensitivity despite the expectations of her audience.

James Calvert (Liaison Support Librarian (Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education))

Airhead: The Imperfect Art of Making News examines the nature of broadcast news journalism, capturing a vivid snapshot of what happens in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes. As an anecdotal tale of her journalistic adventures, and seemingly fuelled on a diet of chocolate, alcohol and very little sleep, Emily Maitlis takes us swiftly from one famous encounter to the next, her book presented as a collection of compelling vignettes. The short, episodical chapters that make up this easy-reading, but not always comfortable-reading book offers an insider’s perspective on the news-making process. For myself, this never felt more real than with the chapter, ‘Meeting a Prince’, an account of the build-up of the weeks and days to that now infamous Newsnight interview, an important event that may still have the power to help Epstein’s victims later down the line.

Anne Binsfeld (Liaison Support Librarian (IMBE)) – Russell Brand: How Addiction Starts with a Penguin Bar

While I don’t necessarily like Russell Brand, his way of branding himself or even most of his opinions, I really enjoyed the chapter on Maitlis’s interview with Brand around addiction and his book Recovery. Emily Maitlis’s honesty is disarming and I am intrigued by her claim that his book is ‘a sort of AA programme without the pomposity’ considering Russell Brand comes across as pompous and over the top quite often. In this interview however, or rather in Emily’s account of this interview, he comes across as insightful and honest – perhaps because I can see the importance of acknowledging addiction as incredibly common, be it to online shopping sprees (in Maitlis’s case) or drinks, drugs and Penguin bars (in Brand’s case). I would imagine after a year of Covid-19 and three lockdowns down the line, most of us have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to, as Brand says, supplement ‘our experience of being’. Addiction is a distraction from worries and fears that just feel too large for us to face head on. Despite Brand’s charm, Maitlis doesn’t let him off the hook easily and I have also enjoyed reading about that. Although she might not get any ‘tears of repentance’, she does know how to ask those questions that touch on something true and important in Brand’s experience. In return, Brand comes across as an engaged and engaging interviewee. The final scene highlights poignantly that the art of making news is a game of give and take, like a dance in which interviewer and interviewee are in communication with each other. Great interviews are not one-directional and as Emily Maitlis is happy to admit, put the interviewer on the spot time and time again.