This exhibition of material from UCL Special Collections looked at some of the innovative institutions and individuals which flourished in and around UCL in the 19th Century. It was inspired by and organized in conjunction with the Bloomsbury Project, led by Professor Rosemary Ashton of the English Department, which was undertaking wider research into the remarkable number of reforming institutions and people that congregated in the Bloomsbury area during the 19th Century.
The exhibition focused on individuals and institutions connected with UCL. There were papers from some of the early professors, including letters from John Elliotson, an innovative doctor and Professor of Medicine, who undertook controversial experiments with 'mesmerism' or hypnosis at University College Hospital (UCH) in the 1830s, as well as unexpectedly light-hearted cartoons and sketches by Augustus de Morgan, Professor of Mathematics here for over 30 years. There was material about some of the influential societies which used UCL as a meeting place, such as the Graphic Society, or which grew out of the activities of UCL staff and students, like the London Mathematical Society which was founded by UCL students in 1865. There were reproductions of paintings and life drawings from the Slade School of Fine Art, which was the first British art school to allow women to draw from a live model, as well as plans and photographs of the original buildings of both UCL and its counterpart on the other side of Gower Street, UCH. Finally, maps from the London History collection illustrated the growth and development of the area during the course of the 19th Century.