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…

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: Ovarian Dermoid Cyst

  The specimen is a tumour called a dermoid cyst which was found on an ovary.  It can be seen to contain skin with sebaceous and sweat glands which are normal elements of skin, five well-formed teeth and a few long silky hairs. The mechanism by which germ cells with the capacity to grow into…

Flesh for the Wise

Our Human Remains Conservator Cat Irving takes a look at the history of wax models in the teaching of anatomy and embryology. In common with many institutions in Europe that taught anatomy, Surgeons’ Hall holds a collection of teaching models made from wax. These models have a long history, originating with a Sicilian named Zumbo. After…

A Tale of Two Surgeons

Last week we put out a call for memorabilia and objects from women in surgery and the response so far has been encouraging. The following story from Mr Graham Fraser F.R.C.S. (Ed,Eng, C.) F.A.C.S. is a beautiful example of the personal experiences of women in surgery that we are looking to showcase. Graham Fraser was…

Pathology Spotlight- Emphysema

Not all the tissue specimens in the museum collection are in jars. This is a section, about the thickness of a human hair, of a whole human lung mounted dry on paper. This type of section was invented by Professor Jethro Gough and his assistant James E Wentworth in the Welsh School of Medicine in…