Enlightenment Mason, Medic and Man of Letters

As a doctor, freemason, poet and actor, William Perfect (c.1734-1809) packed a lot into his years. Thankfully for us, he kept a record of his colourful life. On display for the first time ever, Perfect’s manuscript, a collection of journals and letters, offers a unique insight into the world of an 18th Century Renaissance man.

Perfect specialised in midwifery and the serious study of mental illness. At the time, these areas were underserved and he was brave to pursue them. His case notes shine a light on his pioneering medical practices.

In his spare time, Perfect risked his professional reputation by treading the boards at local theatres. He was equally happy discussing poetry in London literary circles or donning his whites for a game of cricket. He was also an enthusiastic freemason and, ultimately, Provincial Grand Master of Kent.

Perfect’s writing reveals much about the man and his relationships in Georgian society. This exhibition is your chance to discover this world for yourself.

This exhibition and the William Perfect Manuscript project was made possible with the support of:

The Kent Museum of Freemasonry, The National Archives, The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, The Leche Trust, The London Grand Rank Heritage and Educational Trust, The Hunterian Museum and Library, The Royal College of Surgeons, London Metropolitan Archives, Coram Foundling Hospital Collection, Edmund and John Byrne, S. Cameron and P. Haederle.