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Alternative Valentine's at Barts Pathology Museum

Lovesick hysterics, plundered hearts and the history of sexually transmitted diseases will be discussed in a series of February lectures at Barts Pathology Museum, part of Queen Mary University of London.

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Tuesday 4 February - Matters of the Heart Month at the Museum begins on Tuesday 4 February with a talk by Dr Helen King on the 'conditions' of Hysteria and Lovesickness and the imaginative way they were treated by 19th century doctors.

Thursday 6 February - Donald Rumbelow – former custodian of The Black Museum, now a well-known Jack the Ripper tour guide – explores the Ripper's reign of terror, focusing on the final victim, whose heart was removed during her murder and never found.

Saturday 8 February - Botanical expert Tanya Moulding hosts The Seductive Power of Plants – a four-hour workshop which includes a whirlwind tour of fragrant aphrodisiacs past and present and the chance for guests to create their own unique scent in time for Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday 12 February - Lady Rose Cholmondeley of The Chopin Society mixes medicine and music with a talk on the life and works of the composer FryderykChopin. She will discuss whether Chopin’s heart is really bricked into a pillar in Warsaw preserved in Cognac, and whether he died of tuberculosis or cystic fibrosis. Professor of Clinical Histopathology Sebastian Lucas will then discuss these conditions from a medical perspective.

Tuesday 18 February - A history of sexually transmitted diseases, their causes, context and cures takes place on 18 February as Dr Lesley Hall of The Wellcome Library presents her talk ‘A Night with Venus, A Lifetime with Mercury’.

Thursday 20 February - Dr Anna Maerker investigates the curious history of the ‘anatomical Venus’ - beautiful female sculptures with removable parts for ‘dissection’, created for medical museums and touring shows. Kelley Swain will then discuss her poetry project about the anatomical Venus: Opera di Cera. 

Wednesday 26 February - Closing the ‘alternative-Valentines’ season is Dr Ellery Foutch, with a history of the first superstar bodybuilder: Victorian Strongman Eugen Sandow, and his world-famous arm. Modern day Sandow, Sir Leopold Aleksander, will then present "The Path to Victory" - his unusual lecture on gaining the Necessary Attributes of the True Gentleman.

Tickets are £7 including booking fee for all events, with exception to weekend workshops. Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7pm start. All events include a wine reception and the chance to view the museum’s specimens.

Tickets, directions and further information can be found on the Barts Pathology Museum website and eventbrite.

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