Pathology Spotlight: Tapeworms

In this Pathology Spotlight our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, tell us all about tapeworms- from how they contaminate humans to their use in ‘diet pills’ in the early twentieth century.

Surgeons’ Hall Step Into The Future

We’ve told you about the history of surgery. Now it’s time to take a step into the future. Surgeons’ Hall Museums are delighted to announce two new galleries which are set to open in the autumn of 2020. The new galleries are the second phase of the museum redevelopment, with phase one being completed in…

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…

Burchell’s Famous Sugar Plumbs for Worms

In this latest post, Dr. Iain Macleod looks at one of the more unusual items in our collections. Surgeons’ Hall Museums holds many fascinating objects, but few can be stranger than a collection of nine 18th Century tokens or medals. These were produced by Basil Burchell, (1765-1838), dealer in patent medicines, later a jeweller and…

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…

An Army That Cannot Bite Cannot Fight

In our latest blog, guest author Iain MacLeod takes a look at a British War Office issued dental stoppings (fillings) kit from our collection and tells us why it is so remarkable. Amongst the museum archive collections of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is a small wooden box containing the equipment required to…

Pathology Spotlight: Brain Aneurysm

Our Human Remains Conservator takes a look at Brain Aneurysms in our latest Pathology Spotlight blog.   The walls of our arteries and veins are composed of three layers,  with varying amounts of elasticity to respond to the pulses of blood that come from the heart’s regular beating. Sometimes areas of the wall can become thin…

A Few Words About Formaldehyde

Our Human Remains Conservator Cat Irving discusses the misconceptions behind the use of formaldehyde and explains why you won’t see much of it in our Collections. Peter Carey’s novel Jack Maggs is set in London in 1837. A Charles Dickens-esque character called Tobias Oates goes into a shop in Whitechapel where he buys what is…

Medical Miscellany

Guest author Iain Macleod, retired consultant and honorary clinical senior lecturer in dental & maxillofacial radiology, tells us more about an object in our Collection that once belonged to his father. In the early 1950’s my late father, Dr Ian R. Macleod, was conscripted into the army as part of “national service”. As a doctor,…

Pathology Spotlight: Horse-Shoe Kidney

Sometimes during development the lower ends of the foetal kidneys fuse together, resulting in one u-shaped organ, rather than the normal pair of kidneys lying either side of the spine. This is known as a horse-shoe kidney, or ren arcuatus. The fusion usually takes place between weeks 7 and 9 of development. The horse-shoe kidney…

The Veiled Child

Our Human Remains Conservator takes a look at the superstitions surrounding a Baby’s’ Caul.