The 2023 MoreBooks campaign is now on at St George’s Library until 21st April. This year, we want to focus on widening our collection with more books on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) topics in relation to health, biomedicine or higher education education. Let us know what you’d like to see on our shelves to reflect YOU better. All suggestions welcome.
How do I take part?
You can do this in two ways:
1) Visit our in-person station in the library between now and 21st April and fill in our suggest a book form.
Black History Month Badge-Making -Pop-Up Creation Station
Date: Wednesday 19 October
Location: Outside the Library (Hunter Wing, Level 1)
Come and celebrate Black History Month 2022 at our creative badge-making station. Create Black History Month badges using sample artwork or your own designs! Student ambassadors and staff will be there to guide you. No need to book, just turn up – all equipment and material will be supplied.
Black History Month Book Display
Come and browse and borrow from our collection of black-authored fiction and non-fiction titles- many of the titles highlighted in our display are listed in our new collections discovery service.
All our e-book products from OUP – Oxford Medicine, Oxford Scholarship and Oxford Clinical Psychology – have been migrated to a single platform called Oxford Academic. This means that all our electronic textbooks that begin Oxford Handbook of… or Oxford Textbook of… can now be navigated and viewed using this single platform, rather than multiple products that all look slightly different. This platform also includes a range of titles that we have purchased from other publishers, plus some of our journals.
While we encourage you to continue to use your reading lists to link to e-books that your tutors highlight, or search Hunter to find the e-books that we subscribe to, once you get to Oxford Academic there is a lot you can do. Find out more from our e-books guide, or ask your liaison librarian.
The new hub provides a simple option for NHS staff to search all knowledge and library resources in one place. The hub also links to a new journals library, to key healthcare databases for in-depth searching (hosted by provider websites such as EbscoHost, Ovid and Proquest), and to other key resources such as BMJ Best Practice and UpToDate.
For LGBTQ+ month, we are featuring the story of Mary Ann(e) Talbot, or John Taylor, a patient at St George’s around 1800, who was known as a cross-dressing soldier. We don’t know how they identified themselves, but their story is often featured as part of transgender history. This blogpost was written by St George’s Archivist, Dr Juulia Ahvensalmi.
In the Gazette article, her life is briefly sketched from her birth at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in 1778, being orphaned and taken under the guardianship of a Mr Sucker aged 16, leading to the events that were to determine the rest of her life:
‘Here, she became acquainted with a Captain Essex Bowen, whom she accompanied to London, and by whom shortly afterwards, under threat of being deserted, she was induced to assume the dress of a drummer-boy and the name of John Taylor, and to accompany his regiment to the West Indies.
After suffering many hardships there, the regiment was ordered to Spain, and in the siege of Valenciennes, her evil genius, Captain Bowen, was killed and she herself received two slight wounds which were cured without medical aid ‘by the assistance of a little basilican, lint, and a few Dutch drops’
There is a lot packed in those two paragraphs. ‘Accompanied’? ‘Induced to assume’? ‘Her evil genius’? From this account, it is unclear how much agency she had over the events.
(As a little aside on the medication: in traditional Indian Auyrvedan medicine, the so-called ‘holy basil’ or tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum or Ocimum sanctum) has been used for various medical complaints, including to treat insect and snake bites; this is separate from the variety used as a culinary herb. ‘Lint’ is a surgical dressing, and ‘Dutch drops’ refer to an ointment made from oil of turpentine or a tincture of guaiagum (rather than Dutch liquorice), chiefly used as a diuretic, but also for dressing wounds.)
The article goes on to describe her desertion from the regiment, travelling on foot through France, employment by a French privateer (essentially a pirate sanctioned by a government), capture and work as a ‘powder-monkey’, manning the naval artillery guns on a British war ship, a job in which she is severely wounded. After her recovery, she takes part in Sir Sidney Smith’s expedition during the Napoleonic Wars, is imprisoned in France for 18 months where she ‘incidentally learned to weave gold wire from a fellow prisoner’.
A prisoner exchange between the countries enables her to take up on an offer at Calais to travel to New York on an American merchant ship, overseeing the cargo. We are told that the skipper’s niece fell in love with her, ‘and at parting an affecting scene is related to have taken place between them, probably with little regard for the truth’ (that is the one bit the writer finds unbelievable in the whole story?).
Back in England, she escapes ‘the dangers of a press-gang’ (the capture of men into the military or navy by compulsion) by revealing her gender. She continues to wear men’s clothes, however, despite a strict court order telling her to ‘break … the masculine habit’, and in her autobiography she notes that she ‘frequently dressed .. and took excursions as a sailor’.
After this, it seems her life went from bad to worse. Disabled by her wounds, she was also said to have acquired ‘habits of intemperance’ during her naval career. After a spell at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, she turns to jewellery-making, the skill she had learned in the French prison, but after her wounds begin to suppurate she seeks help from St George’s Hospital. Her stay at St George’s lasts seven months, a time of ‘tedious confinement’ under the supervision of surgeons Robert Keate and John Griffiths.
Prior to the introduction of the NHS in 1948, St George’s was a charity hospital, with few conveniences and luxuries beyond the strictly medical attention given to the patients. Despite its location at Hyde Park Corner, most of the patients came from the nearby slums of Westminster and Soho. Saving measures at the hospital at this time led to cheese and butter being removed from patients’ diet, to be replaced with milk porridge or gruel.
Social work at the hospital was conducted by volunteers under the umbrella of the Almoners, who provided guidance and assistance to patients. Mary Ann Talbot’s own account names Emma Raynes, who, besides attending to her whilst she was confined in her hospital bed, supported her and helped her find lodgings after being discharged.
She also notes that students took part in providing for her stay, and that she ‘procured some little necessaries from a subscription made by the young gentlemen pupils who attended the hospital’.
Not all of her encounters with the students were pleasant, however. She recounts how one of these students, called Saife or Scaife
‘(I imagine) in joke, offered me half-a-crown a week while I lived to have my body when dead. However he might mean it I knew not, but it procured such an aversion to physic in me that while I remained under care I would take no more medicine, fearing it would hasten my death; and I remarked my wound healed faster than before’
‘Saife’ was probably James Safe, who enrolled as a pupil at St George’s in 1798, and who, according to St George’s student records and the records of the Medical Officers of the Malta Garrison, became an army surgeon, and died at Trinidad in 1817. His widow Eliza appears in the Legacies of British Slavery database as a beneficiary of compensation awarded for the enslaved people on an estate in Trinidad in 1835.
He may not have been exactly joking, either, when he offered money for Mary Ann’s body after her death: the supply of cadavers for students was meagre, but they were required for anatomy lessons. The only legal source for bodies in medical schools was from executed criminals (since the 1752 Murder Act), which led to short supply in anatomy schools and the proliferation of bodysnatching. William Burke and William Hare famously even resorted to murdering people to keep up with the demand in 19th century Edinburgh.
It was not until 1832 that the Anatomy Act decreed that the ‘unclaimed’ bodies of paupers, who had died in institutions such as hospitals or workhouses, could be used for dissection.
Mary Ann was, however, did not end up in the St George’s dissection room. Her life following her successful discharge from the hospital appears to have been similarly colourful, varying from being sued for wearing hair powder (which was heavily taxed and required a specifically bought licence) to confronting her former guardian to a tragic story of her child minders drowning her baby (the first time the baby is mentioned!). Queen Caroline was said to have felt so sorry for her that she was given an annual grant of £50. She was said to have become an actress, before falling into ‘squalid and vicious poverty’.
The article in the Gazette ends, rather piously, with
‘In what manner and place Mary Ann Talbot met her death the writer has been unable to ascertain, but it is probable that both were such as would be amply sufficient to deter any other ‘lady’ from following her example’
She had lived in Kirby’s household for several years prior to this as a servant, and is in several sources stated to have had a long-term ‘female companion’, although we know nothing of her identity. Mary Ann notes in the account that she was supported whilst imprisoned by ‘the constant attention of a female who lived with me some time previous to my being arrested … she has remained a constant friend in every change that I have since experienced’.
After her death only a few years later, in 1808, Kirby published a fuller account of her life, titled ‘The Life and Surprising Adventures of Mary Anne Talbot in the name of John Taylor, A Natural Daughter of the Late Earl Talbot’. She was 30 years old when she died.
Thank you to everyone who added their comments to the Festive Feedback Tree that was located in the library during December 2021. We enjoyed reading your comments about the service, and your wishes and hopes for the new year.
You said – our response
“More fiction and non-science related books . . . . just because we are a healthcare uni, doesn’t mean books can’t help us grow”
Due to space limitations, it is not possible to dramatically increase the size of the fiction collection. However, we have a collection of general fiction, LGBTQ+, and Black History titles, and are happy to receive specific book suggestions to add to our ‘reading for pleasure’ section.
“No wobbly tables”
We are sorry to hear about the wobbly tables. We will be undertaking checks to ensure all the tables are stable.
“More group study room please!”
We know the group discussion rooms are popular, and are currently exploring options for increasing the number of these.
“Can we have study break passes for longer than 30mins”
Study space is at a premium at certain times of the year. Reserving spaces for longer than 30mins means others are potentially denied a space. 30mins is enough time to have a comfort break and grab something to eat.
“We love our Library – please bring back the blankets”
“Please bring back the blankets”
During the COVID pandemic, the sharing of blankets was seen as a transmission risk, and removing them was the responsible thing to do. We keep this in constant review, and we hope to bring them back in due course.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to set one up.)
If you’ve registered an alternate address but still can’t reset your password, email ITAV@sgul.ac.uk.
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 email@example.com. Even over the Christmas break we can respond to queries until 23rd December, and again from 4th January when the library reopens.
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.
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.
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
Part of the glossary in ‘Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, Recently Liberated’, 1840.
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.
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
Karen John-Pierre, NHS and liaison manager, St George’s Library
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.