As well as visiting Physicians or Surgeons, people in need of medical help during the 18th century could also turn to apothecaries. Regarded by some as doctors of the poor, numerous apothecary shops could be found in British towns prescribing and dispensing drugs and potions for all manner of ailments and illnesses. Although treated with suspicion by some members of the medical profession, apothecaries were generally considered to be professional men with excellent training. The Worshipful Company of Apothecaries, for example, conducted seven-year apprenticeships for their trainees, who were required to accompany their masters when attending the sick. Apprentices spent much of their time observing the making and distribution of medicines, most of which were derived from herbs and plants. In 1773 the Medical Society of London was formed, which brought together physicians, surgeons and apothecaries in order to create a much closer forum in which to exchange their views.
- Article by:
- Matthew White
Against a backdrop of industrialisation and the subsequent over-crowding in the cities, Matthew White investigates health and hygiene in 18th century Britain.
- Article by:
- Sharon Ruston
- Romanticism, Technology and science
Keats trained as an apothecary and a surgeon before deciding to dedicate himself to poetry. Professor Sharon Ruston considers how his medical background influenced his writing.