London’s anti-vivisection hospitals 1896–1935


  • Dr Alan Bates

    University College London

Project summary

A key argument that led to the creation of anti-vivisection hospitals in London was that doctors who were involved with vivisection lacked compassion and were on a slippery slope towards human experimentation. The careers of staff and the experiences of patients at these hospitals are little known. 

I aim to discover how well these hospitals met patients’ expectations and why, after several decades, they were forced to abandon their principles owing to lack of funds. Meanwhile, mainstream medical practitioners accused anti-vivisection hospitals of poor treatment due to ideological preoccupations. 

This study will investigate whether professional opposition was at the root of moves to block the hospitals’ funding. Hospital archives and other sources will be used to build up a picture of the work of London’s anti-vivisection hospitals and the financial difficulties that forced them to change. I will examine the conflict between utilitarianism and virtue ethics to ask whether the morally virtuous doctor was no longer a significant concept in the early-20th century.