St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

This is a wonderful, haunting but small museum, a place that should make you fall down and give thanks to whoever you believe in that modern medicine exists. It’s in the attic to provide maximum light for operations. Everything is so small, especially the operating table which I doubt would be long enough for me. More like child sized, which should n’;t be too surprising I suppose as patients were the very poor so unlikely to have been fed enough to grow very tall.

In the herb attic was the children’s ward, with a portable font, I guess to baptise children before they died:


The curiosity cabinet including crocodiles and crabshells:


The apothecary and a jar of the hard stuff – heroin. Probably only for operations or for the dying.

Use of the puffer fish and a recipe for snail water

Statues showing he sort of people who were admitted and a window full of lovely old glasses.

And an article from that eminent publication ‘The Lancet’ linking madness with poetry, ‘On the shadows of genius’. Ada Lovelace’s mum Lady Byron could have told them about that.


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