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The British Medical Journal has for many years run a Christmas special, in which doctors and researchers vie to publish content from the bizarre to the seasonal. This year, we are emulating our ‘big sister’ with the inaugural edition of a Winter Special to coincide with the astrological sign of Capricorn.
Our first theme is the history of the specialty, seen through the eyes of a young historian reading our journal for the first time. As you may know, our archive runs back to 1925 when we began as the British Journal of Venereology. Early editions advertised the names and addresses of venereal disease attendants, healthcare assistants of the distant past and displaced from their profession by the cessation of hostilities, now seeking new posts. We asked Huw du Boulay to explore representations of the great, stigmatised diseases of the past …