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Sir Harold Gillies: Inventor of Plastic Surgery


Friday, 7 November 2014 from 18:00 to 20:30 (GMT)

Sir Harold Gillies: Inventor of Plastic Surgery

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Murray Rowlands, author of Innocents at War, talks about the brilliant, eccentric and extraordinary Dunedin-born Harold Gillies who pioneered early plastic surgery techniques, restoring the faces and morale of many World War One soldiers. 

Harold Gillies is in the news in this centenary year. A play by Howard Brenton opened at the Globe Theatre, London, on 12 September, detailing his impact on the lives of soldiers returning from the Somme with horrific facial wounds. Records of his pioneering surgery have also been released online by the genealogical archive company, Findmypast. 

 Author Murray Rowlands traces the fascinating life of Gillies, from his early beginnings in New Zealand to his medical training in London at St Bartholomew’s and his attachment to a Red Cross unit when war broke out. Gillies pioneering work at the Cambridge Military Hospital at Aldershot was based on his revolutionary understanding that as far as possible bone should be replaced by bone, cartilage by cartilage and skin by skin, a concept that launched a completely new discipline. He  worked closely with dental surgeons to make the soldiers feel like normal human beings, using earlier photos to make plaster models of his patients.

 Murray Rowlands is an ex director of  Languages and Humanities at Morley College, Lambeth, and is a keen Gillies researcher. He hopes to work with sponsorship to provide a greater commemoration of the work of Harold Gillies if possible at the soon-to-be-demolished Cambridge Military Hospital,  Aldershot.




Room MAL 539, Torrington Square entrance, Birkbeck University, London 

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When & Where

Room MAL 539, Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square
United Kingdom

Friday, 7 November 2014 from 18:00 to 20:30 (GMT)

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