Category Archives: Research Blog

Legacies of Eugenics Project

The Research Blog for the Legacies of Eugenics project features original research findings developed by the project team, and by collaborators and colleagues in associated areas.

Our blog editor is Dr Maria Kiladi.

Reception of Lionel Penrose’s Study on “Mental Deficiency” in 1930s Britain

This essay examines the reception by the medical and eugenic communities of Lionel Penrose’s research on “mental deficiency” in the 1930s. In 1928 Lionel Penrose began work at the Royal Eastern Counties Institution in Colchester, employed by the Medical Research Council to investigate the causes of “mental deficiency”. [1] The final Colchester report, of which I was able… Read More »

Charles Darwin’s Pedigree As Described By Karl Pearson

Charles Darwin’s pedigree was one of the premiere objects on display in the recent “We Are Not Alone” exhibition at Wiener Holocaust Library in September 2021, superbly curated by Professor Marius Turda. Darwin’s pedigree was present in the form of a large, framed genealogy – an item loaned from UCL Science Collections. It is their object GALT364.  Information about that pedigree chart in the “We Are Not Alone” exhibition was sparse. Our curiosity was peaked, and we decided to investigate. We wanted to know more… Read More »

Researching Eugenics at UCL: Advice from Experts in Archives and Records

What archive materials related to Eugenics does UCL hold? Where can these be found? What is open for inspection? Which parts of UCL collections are digitised? How does UCL’s ‘Galton Papers’ differ from the digitised Galton material available online through the Wellcome Collection? I’ve spent the past two years researching the history and legacy of eugenics at UCL.… Read More »

Anthropometric Laboratories in the UK and Ireland

The 1884 International Health Exhibition provided for Francis Galton the opportunity to set up an Anthropometric Laboratory for the first time. Taking place in South Kensington between Exhibition Road and Queen’s Gate, next to the South Kensington Museum, the exhibition was an opportunity for four million visitors to understand the importance of the ‘science of sanitation,’ which ‘affects… Read More »

Francis Galton (A Rare Biography by Heinrich Driesmans)

Francis Galton has been the subject of several major biographies (Cowan 1984; Gillham 2001; Waller 2001), and much historical study. Karl Pearson asserted his own primacy as Galton’s disciple with his Life, Letters, and Labours of Francis Galton (Pearson 1914, 1924, 1930a, 1930b). Vague references to a Galton biography by “Coleridge” set me on the task of locating what… Read More »

Speeches Delivered at a Dinner in Honour of Karl Pearson, 1934

Karl Pearson retired in 1933, aged 76. To honour his career, colleagues and former students gathered for a dinner in April 1934. On this occasion, Professor LNG Filon, Vice-Chancellor of University of London, gave a tribute to Pearson. This was followed by recollections from several long-time colleagues and the presentation of various gifts. Pearson gave a “reply” to… Read More »