Skip to main content

Irradiating the sun-starved: new exhibition at MRC

sun starved posterA brand new exhibition, 'Irradiating the sun-starved: light therapies in Britain c. 1900-1940', is now open at the Modern Records Centre. The exhibition has been curated by Dr. Tania Woloshyn as part of a Wellcome Trust-funded project, and will run until 9 June 2013.

The exhibition features important light therapy textbooks, adverts, manufacturer pamphlets, popular articles, ultraviolet (UV) and infrared lamps, and UV-protective goggles, all of which were vital to disseminating and defining natural and artificial light therapy.

Heliotherapy (natural sun therapy) and phototherapy (artificial light therapy) developed as progressive therapies during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for the treatment of a variety of conditions, especially types of tuberculosis (of the lungs, skin, glands, bones and joints, etc.). Sunlight, whether natural or artificially-produced, could be used locally, that is directly onto wounds or lesions, or generally as a 'bath' for the whole body, and was understood to possess bactericidal and analgesic properties. As such light became a powerful, natural regenerative agent in the treatment of acute and chronic diseases.

Public talk and reception

A formal reception and public talk will take place at the Modern Records Centre on Tuesday 30 April 2013, from 5.15pm-6.30pm. Places are limited, so you will need to book a place by emailing Tania Woloshyn.

Find out more

Visit the Centre for the History of Medicine webpages to learn more about the exhibition.