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…

Pathology Spotlight: Galeazzi Fracture of the Radius

In February’s Pathology Spotlight, Professor Ken Donaldson, Senior Research Fellow in the Museum takes explains Galeazzi Fractures.   The radius, the forearm bone that connects to the thumb, has been broken by trauma near its end (arrow) and the hand is deflected upwards. The ulna has retained its position but the forced lateral and upward…

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.

2018: A Year in Review

2018 has been the busiest year ever for Surgeons’ Hall Museums, Libraries and Archives. We’ve had a wide variety of different events, two temporary exhibitions and we launched our walking tours and the Henry Wade Project. We have also welcomed more of you than ever through our doors! This year we started #SpeakToTheSpecialist, a series…

Miss Frances Ivens and the Scottish Women’s Hospital in France

Our new exhibition looks at the Scottish Women’s Hospitals (SWH), showcasing The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s Archival collection and the reflections of two local artists, Susie Wilson and Joan Smith. In addition we have been fortunate to receive a loan of materials once belonging to Miss Frances Ivens a leading figure in the…

William Burke and the Edinburgh Irish; Sympathy for the Devil

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s Archives  holds the memoirs of Edinburgh University student Thomas Hume. In his memoirs, Hume discusses the execution and dissection of William Burke, both of which he was witness to. In this latest blog, our Senior Museum Research Fellow Ken Donaldson explores the sympathy felt for Burke by some witnesses…

Pathology Spotlight: Onychogryphosis

Onychogryphosis, or Ram’s Horn Nail, is a condition in which there is abnormal nail growth. It causes the nail to become very overgrown, often resembling a ram’s horn, as the name suggests. While it can affect any nail of the fingers and toes, it is most commonly seen in big toe. There is no singular…