This day in London’s History
1818 The first human to human blood transfusion is thought to have taken place, at Guy's Hospital. Dr James Blundell successfully transferred four ounces of blood into a mother who was haemorrhaging after giving birth. The sanguineous lifesaver was taken from her husband’s arm and speedily (to prevent clotting) injected by syringe into the patient. Despite complete ignorance of blood groups, the transfusion was a success. And not just for the patient. Dr Blundell went on to make a tidy fortune out of the various instruments he later devised. These included the evocatively named ‘Impellor’ and ‘Gravitator‘. Had he been born a couple of hundred years later, the good doctor would have no doubt enjoyed a profitable career in superhero comics.
London fact of the week
Blood, it seems, is a specialty of London. In 1628, William Harvey published his then-controversial theory that the blood circulates around the body pumped by the heart. Later, in 1771, William Hewson described the clotting of blood and his isolation of the clotting factor fibrogen. No wonder Count Dracula had an obsession with London.
London person of the week
London newcomer and ousted Thai PM, Thaksin Shinawatra. Rumour had the itinerant exile staying in Kensington, then Chelsea, then the Dorchester. Where will he turn up next?
One thing you must do in London this week
Getting those Open House withdrawal symptoms already? Next Saturday there’s a one-off opportunity to climb to the top of the Oxo Tower as part of the redeveloped complex’s 10-year anniversary celebrations Exhibitions and other diversions will also be on offer.