Mohammad Al-Ubaydli’s blog

First Tuesday

Posted in History, People / organisations by Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli on January 12, 2008

Here is another reminder of how society changes over time. When I was in college, at the height of the dot-com boom in England, my dream was to attend a First Tuesday meeting. The company’s founders organized a meeting on the first Tuesday of every month in many major cities, starting with London. Attendees would get one of three badges identifying each person as an investor, an entrepreneur or a technologist, if I remember correctly (the Wikipedia article looks like it has been mutilated by company’s current PR department). The ideal was for conversations involving people with different colour badges.

I never got to attend any of those events as college lectures always got in the way and then the hospital work began. And then the crash came, and the current First Tuesday company is a shadow of its former self.

I remembered them yesterday because my brother, who regularly spends time browsing the Wikipedia, sent me this extract about Bethlem Royal Hospital, AKA Bedlam, used to have its own first Tuesday meetings:

Bethlem Royal Hospital became famous and infamous for the brutal ill-treatment meted out to the mentally ill. In 1675 Bedlam moved to new buildings in Moorfields designed by Robert Hooke, outside the City boundary. In the 18th century people used to go there to see the lunatics. For a penny one could peer into their cells, view the freaks of the “show of Bethlehem” and laugh at their antics, generally of a sexual nature or violent fights. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month. Visitors were permitted to bring long sticks with which to poke and enrage the inmates. In 1814, there were 96,000 such visits. The lunatics were first called “patients” in 1700, and “curable” and “incurable” wards were opened in 1725-34.

Funny how times change.

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