The establishment of histology in the curriculum of the London medical schools, 1826-1886
This thesis sets out the way in which histology became established in the curriculum of the London medical schools between 1826 and 1886. The text provides a very large number of references to original material, some of it previously unreported. Histology had its origins in continental Europe in the early years of the nineteenth century, in the work of Bichat. The introductory chapter examines how this was translated both as to language and as to practical experience into England. The role of the developing achromatic microscope is also briefly considered. The changes in medical education in London which fostered the teaching of 'general anatomy' (histology) are then described from primary sources in some detail, and with extensive necessary quotation. The establishment and development of medical departments and the appointment of key teachers was pivotal and is fully investigated, while the role of the medical press in infuencing change is also assessed. The teaching programme of each college is explored using evidence from surviving lecture notes, texts, diaries, calendars and correspondence. The changing requirements for qualification, and their influence on the examination system, which accompanied the growth of histological teaching, are discussed. In order to trace the incorporation of the cell theory, the growing understanding of the tissue concept, and the relationship between structure and function, into the teaching of histology, a case study of the histology of the liver has been pursued throughout the thesis. The development of knowledge of the histology of the liver has been traced through the large number of textbooks which were produced to support courses in histology. Throughout the period, steadily increasing specialisms from virtually all other aspects of the curriculum vied for inclusion, with more and more time being given over to new and diverse subjects. In this competition for time and resources histology eventually found a permanent place. The events leading to a formal requirement to teach practical histology are examined, and key people in these changes are identified. The effects of the legislation on texts, equipment, specialist accommodation, teaching skills, and time are assessed.