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Medical History Tour

Learn about Edinburgh’s rich medical history

Part of the Edinburgh Science Festival’s official 2024 programme

Step back in time and embark on a captivating 1-hour guided tour through the heart of Edinburgh’s rich medical history. This unique experience takes you on a compelling journey down the only preserved 17th-century street in the city, Mary King’s Close. You will walk in the footsteps of the city’s past residents, exploring the remarkable evolution of medical practices.

Delve deeper you into the darkest days of Edinburgh’s history, the Plague outbreak of 1645, and discover how the city confronted this devastating epidemic.

One of the tour’s highlights is the tale of Dr Arnott, a physician who called Mary King’s Close home. Prepare to be both fascinated and somewhat astounded as you hear about his unconventional method of diagnosing patients—tasting their urine! This eccentric practice underscores the remarkable contrast between historical and modern medicine.

The tour doesn’t just focus on male medical practitioners; it also sheds light on the Edinburgh Seven, a group of pioneering women who faced immense challenges to pursue a medical education in the 19th century.

As you walk through time, you’ll discover how whisky and gin weren’t just indulgent spirits but also essential components of early medical treatments. The medicinal uses of these drinks offer a fascinating glimpse into the innovative approaches that were employed in the past.

The Medical History Tour promises not only to educate but also to inspire, leaving you with a sense of wonder and curiosity about the future of medicine.

Sat 30th March | Sat 6th & 13th April
16.00 | 17.30 | 19.00
£27 per adult
£22 per child (5-15yo)
©The Real Mary King's Close. All Rights Reserved.
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