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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
17th March 1969 Fashion designer Alexander McQueen was born in Lewisham, London.
17th March 1954 Born today: Lesley-Anne Down, London, actress (A Little Night Music, Moonraker)
17th March 1954 Born today: Wally Stocker, London, rock vocalist/guitarist (Babys-Missing You)
17th March 1931 Born today: Eunice Gayson, London England, actress (Dr No, From Russia With Love)
17th March 1928 The first James Bond girl, from Dr No, actress Eunice Gayson was born in Croydon.
17th March 1921 Dr Marie Stopes opens Britain's 1st birth control clinic (London)
17th March 1904 The Daily Mirror's Handcuff challenge to Harry Houdini at the Alhambra Theatre.
17th March 1845 Rubber band patented by Stephen Perry of London
17th March 1789 Born today: Edmund Kean, London England, tragic actor (Shylock)
The King of Quacks
One of the Victorian age's most notorious quack doctors.
Location: 84 Harley Street
Description: John St John Long was the so-called King of the Quacks, who ran a medical practice here for wealthy female clients earning a reputed income of 13,000 a year.
Before becoming a doctor however John St John Long was one of the only two known pupils of artist John Martin. Long's brief artistic career seems only to have spanned the 1820s. The majority of his pictures were biblical subjects - one being in the Tate Collection currently.
By 1827, Long had set himself up as a doctor specialising in the cure of consumption by using liniment and medicated vapours.
In 1828 he was exposed as a quack, and following the death of two patients between 1830 and 1831, was found guilty of manslaughter. He managed to escape with a 250 fine, and continued to practice as a doctor.
He would ask his clients to inhale from a long pink tube filled with a potent gas, noting how their resistance to his massage sessions lessened the more gas he used. He was also noted for being a purveyor of snake oil.
Ironically he died aged 36 of consumption. His grand tomb in Highgate Cemetary was paid for by grateful patients of his.