Historian, Author and Speaker
Kevin Brown is an authority on the history of medicine. A graduate of Hertford College, University of Oxford and University College, London, he is Trust Archivist to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum Curator at St Mary’s Hospital, London, a museum and archives which he established. He was Chairman of the London Museums of Health and Medicine, 2001-04, and is a Trustee of the charity St Mary’s Hospital Association. He was awarded a Gladstone’s Library Scholarship for 2015.
He is the author of seven books: Penicillin Man: Alexander Fleming and the Antibiotic Revolution (2004); The Pox: The Life and Near Death of a Very Social Disease (2006); Fighting Fit: Health, Medicine and War in the Twentieth Century (2008); Poxed and Scurvied: the Story of Sickness and Health at Sea (2011); Passage to the World: The Emigrant Experience 1807-1940 (2013); The Seasick Admiral: Nelson and the Health of the Navy (2015); and, Fittest of the Fit: Health and Morale in the Royal Navy, 1939-1945.
He has lectured widely in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the United States, and onboard cruise ships. He was the first historian and first non-scientist to deliver the Andrew J. Moyer Lecture at the US Department of Agriculture National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (2001) . His audiences range from academic and professional groups, to school children and women’s institutes, in universities and on cruise ships, and as an after-dinner speaker.
Speaker on the History of Health and Medicine
Lectures and talks are tailor made for the audience and the occasion.
Examples of popular lectures include:
An entertaining account of the experiences of doctors on cruise ships in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
A tale of an order of knights who fought and nursed in protection of the sick
How the modern surgeon arose from the profession of barber surgeon
The Black Death, the Great Plague, epidemics: the fear they induced
The story of a very social disease, Syphilis, its victims, and the cures that were worse than the malady
The conquest of infectious disease in the nineteenth century
The story of sickness and health at sea
Anson’s round the world voyage should have been a national triumph but turned into a national tragedy thanks to scurvy
How Lord Nelson’s personal medical history and his concern for the health of his men contributed to his victories at sea
A look at the diet of the sailor down the ages and the effects of it on his health
The story of how doctors and nurses brought something positive from the First World War in the form of medical advances
The role of women in caring for the wounded in the First World War and the forgotten story of all women-led military hospitals, including a suffragette hospital
How medicine helped to win the war through keeping everyone fit
Staying healthy and alive on the British Home Front in the Second World War: a tale of ordinary people under attack
Medical innovation in the Second World War that helped to win the war
How a chance observation by Alexander Fleming in 1928 revolutionised medicine and how it changed the world.
The Story of the naval hospitals in Britain and at Menorca, Gibraltar, Malta and Bermuda
The story of emigrants from Europe on ships bound for The Americas and Australasia, how they kept well and the health hurdles they had to hump
A light-hearted look at an unlikely chain of connections covering the history of medicine, politics, fashion and film
The story of the jewel in the post-Imperial Crown
Asthma through the ages
An amusing look at how Charles Dickens depicted doctors and nurses – and the truth behind his vivid characters
What do the plays of William Shakespeare tell us about health and medicine in his time?
Lord Byron’s personal physician and disputed authorship over his novel about a vampire
John Keats, his early career as a doctor and how it informed his poetry
The story behind George Bernard Shaw’s satire of the medical profession, its inspiration in the work of Almroth Wright, Alexander Fleming’s mentor, and its relevance for today when decisions need to be made on the rationing of scarce medical resources among too many patients
The sinking of the Arandora Star and the internment of enemy aliens in the Second World War
Or – It shouldn’t happen to an archivist!
Anecdotes from the speaker’s own experiences of bizarre happenings in Archives, Museums and on the quest for historical knowledge.
A Selection of Organisations worked with:
Formal dinners, lunch clubs, social clubs, universities, schools, professional societies, the armed forces, cruise ships, women’s institutes, local history societies, museums, libraries, men’s clubs, special interest groups … and perhaps your organisation too.