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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury and the Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury People

What is the Bloomsbury Project?

The Leverhulme-funded UCL Bloomsbury Project was established to investigate 19th-century Bloomsbury’s development from swampy rubbish-dump to centre of intellectual life

Led by Professor Rosemary Ashton, with Dr Deborah Colville as Researcher, the Project has traced the origins, Bloomsbury locations, and reforming significance of hundreds of progressive and innovative institutions

Many of the extensive archival resources relating to these institutions have also been identified and examined by the Project, and Bloomsbury’s developing streets and squares have been mapped and described

This website is a gateway to the information gathered and edited by Project members during the Project’s lifetime, 1 October 2007–30 April 2011, with the co-operation of Bloomsbury’s institutions, societies, and local residents

Robert Carswell (1793–1857)

a summary of his Bloomsbury connections

He was one of the many Scots appointed to the first Chairs of Medicine at the new University of London (later University College London) when it opened in October 1828

Carswell had studied in Glasgow and was in Paris attending and performing dissections (a practice not fully legalised in England until 1832) and making detailed coloured drawings of the dissected cadavers (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

The Council of the University of London gave him permission to stay on in Paris for two years to complete his drawings before beginning his teaching duties as Professor of Morbid Anatomy

Carswell was paid £350 during this time, on the understanding that the drawings would become the property of the University (Council Minutes, vol. I, 18 April 1828; vol. II, 20 March 1830, UCL Records Office)

Carswell returned to London in 1831, after three years in Paris on behalf of the University, and held the Chair, the first of its kind in England, until he was appointed physician to the King of the Belgians in 1840 (H. Hale Bellot, University College London 1826–1926, 1929)

He was also appointed physician to the Dispensary of the North London Hospital, which later became University College Hospital, in 1831 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

In 1835 Carswell became involved in an argument with his colleague the surgeon Robert Liston over who should keep for his collection the calculi removed from patients at University College Hospital by Liston (Robert Liston to Robert Carswell, 31 October 1835, College Correspondence no. 4144, UCL Special Collections)

He was knighted in 1850

Carswell’s drawings, numbering over 2,000, are still in the possession of UCL Special Collections

For more general information about Robert Carsdale, see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

This page last modified 7 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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