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…

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…

The good old days? – Evidence of a polluted history

Chris Henry, Director of Heritage, and Ken Donaldson, Senior Research Fellow at Surgeons’ Hall Museums, write about artefacts from the museum collections that reveal damage cause by urban air in previous centuries.  Most people, if asked, would be of the opinion that air pollution is worse now than in the past but, perhaps surprisingly, they…

Prisoner of War Artworks

Prisoner of war artworks, donated in 2005, came to our attention recently. They offer an insight into what war medics went through to keep soldiers alive when being held as prisoners during World War 2. Perhaps the most striking is this watercolour of a Japanese POW. The writing on the back reads: “Several Japanese P.O.Ws…

Women, Medicine & The War Effort

This month hosts a series of anniversaries and commemorations that remind us about the important role some pioneering women played in pathing the way for the future of women in medicine. On the 18th November in 1870 a riot took place outside Surgeons Hall in protest of seven women sitting an anatomy exam. These women…

Pathology Spotlight – Fergusson, Burke & Hare

This specimen was prepared by Professor Sir William Fergusson who, as a young man in early 19th century Edinburgh, worked closely with Dr Robert Knox, whose notoriety is based on his association with the serial killers Burke and Hare. It is a corrosion cast of a right foot with the lower end of the leg…

Jack and the Shannon

In our final blog of the year, we look at a case of amputation instruments used by Alexander Jack during the early 1800s. Jack was an RCSEd Diplomate in 1801 and later ship’s surgeon aboard the HMS Shannon. These instruments are part of his personal surgery kit and were used by him during the battle between…

The Battle of the Barbers and the Leeches

The above title refers to the friendly rivalry between the Physicians and the Surgeons of Edinburgh for the annual Handicap event played by the Royal Colleges Golf Club. The inaugural match teed off in 1890 and continues to be held every May at Luffness New Golf Club. It was founded by, and first captained by…

Medicine Men – Truly International Operators

Rohan Almond, Assistant Curator, and Thomas Elliott, Head of Museum Learning & Interpretation discuss the new temporary exhibition at Surgeons’ Hall Museums – Medicine Men. This new temporary exhibition highlights a more unusual aspect of the museum collection. It tells the stories of a few medical personalities with a connection to the College who travelled…

Edinburgh’s Dark History: Burke and Hare

William Burke was executed on January 28 1829. As punishment for his crimes he was publicly dissected by the anatomist Professor Alexander Monro (tertius) at the University of Edinburgh. Grisly souvenirs started to appear in Edinburgh, with books and wallets made from Burke’s skin being sold on the streets. A pocket book made from Burke’s skin…