Corrective Surgery

In this latest blog, our Human Remains Conservator discusses the skull and death mask of Burke and Hare’s accomplice, John Brogan, and how pioneering surgery carried out by Thomas Mütter could have helped with a childhood injury. The story of Burke and Hare is well known. In 1828 the pair murdered at least 16 people…

Pathology Spotlight- Kyphosis and Pott’s Disease

In the latest Pathology Spotlight blog, our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, takes a look at Kyphosis and Pott’s Disease. The human vertebral column, or spine, naturally forms a series of curves, which facilitate our posture and balance as upright animals. At the neck (the cervical spine) and lower back (the lumbar spine) the curve…

Syme’s Amputation

In this latest blog our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, takes a look at James Syme and how his pioneering technique helped shape the surgical world. James Syme (1799-1870) was one of the leading surgeons of his day, whom it was said “He never unnecessarily wasted a word, drop of ink or blood.” Active during the…

Pathology Spotlight- Vitamin D Deficiency: Osteomalacia and Rickets

Bones are made principally from a combination of the protein collagen (30%) and the calcium-based mineral hydroxyapatite (70%). Inadequate production of the mineral portion of bone can lead to soft bones, a condition called osteomalacia. The usual cause is a deficiency in vitamin D, which is required to absorb calcium from the diet. Vitamin D…

Lister’s Kneecap

Our Human Remains Conservator tells us about a knee cap with a connection to Joseph Lister. I recently came across a patella in our collection which has been cut in half vertically to show a healed fracture that crosses the bone transversely. On both sides of the knee, wire can be seen passing through holes…

Putting a Face to the Name: Robert the Bruce

With the release of Netflix’s ‘The Outlaw King’ there has been a piqued interest in Robert the Bruce. In this blog, Dr Iain Macleod, retired consultant and honorary clinical senior lecturer in dental & maxillofacial radiology, tells us about the process of putting a face to this famous name.  On the morning of Friday, 5th November 1819…

Pathology Spotlight: A Tibia with Osteomyelitis

In this month’s Pathology Spotlight we take a look at Osteomyelitis.   This specimen is one of the best known in Surgeons’ Hall Museums, where it is featured in its own display case. It is a tibia bone from an Edinburgh-born sailor called Charles Anderson. In 1814, aged 17 years, Anderson was sailing in the Baltic…

Pathology Spotlight- Bones from Barclay

This specimen comes from the collection of John Barclay, and shows a lower leg where the tibia has fractured, but the bone has not united forming a ‘false joint’ where the two opposing surfaces of the fracture have spread to accommodate one another. Use of the limb following this injury has caused the fibula to…

Pathology Spotlight – Osteomyelitis

  The latest Pathology Spotlight looks at osteomyelitis of the tibia, and the curious tale associated with it.  The specimen is a tibia, greatly expanded at the upper end by a large cavity containing  a sinus with a plug inserted in it. In 1814, at the age of 17 years, the owner of this tibia…

Pathology Spotlight – Metastatic sarcoma of the orbit

Sarcomas are a rare type of cancer that can develop almost anywhere in the body , because they arise in mesenchymal cells which occur all over the body– i.e. fat, cartilage, bone, muscle, vascular or the tissue in which blood cells arise. This specimen is  a metastatic sarcoma of the right orbit and the surrounding…

Pathology Spotlight – “Old Bones”

This skull shows the unmistakable appearance of osteoporosis, which has resulted in loss of bone from the skull, particularly around the jaw where the teeth should be present. The patient was ‘an aged, bedridden female’ according to the contemporary notes, who had suffered from generalised loss of bone mass from all the major bones of…

The greatest master of the art: Sir William Fergusson

This month we look at one of our latest acquisitions to the collection, generously donated by Viscountess Monkton of Brenchley. This oil portrait of William Fergusson (1808-1877) was painted by Phoebus Levin in 1853. Levin was a German artist working in London in the mid to late 19th century. The painting was displayed at the…