Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Dr Martin Edwards

Martin worked for over 30 years as a GP in South London and recently retired from clinical practice. His interest in History of Medicine was fired when he undertook a Master's degree in History of Science and Medicine at Imperial College in 1997. He subsequently studied for a doctorate in History of Medicine at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, gaining his MD in 2004 for work examining the historical origins of the randomised controlled trial. He is a lecturer and examiner on the Diploma course in History of Medicine offered by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in London.

During his time at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Martin will be researching therapeutic bed rest.  For over a century bed rest formed a significant part, if not the mainstay, of therapy for a wide variety of ailments, yet has received scant attention from historians. He will examine factors underlying the popularity of bed rest from the mid-nineteenth century and its decline from the middle of the twentieth. He hopes to utilise a variety of sources, including contemporary literature, to elicit patients' perspectives of bed rest, and ways in which both practitioners and patients might have exploited the power transactions and tensions inherent in one party confining the other to bed for prolonged periods.