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: 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…

A Quest for Healing: Contemporary Art by Zhang Yanzi

In April, Surgeons’ Hall Museums opened its newest temporary exhibition ‘A Quest for Healing.’ Created by award-winning Chinese artist Zhang Yanzi, this contemporary art exhibition is the first of its kind to be shown at the museums.   Zhang Yanzi completed a residency in Edinburgh during 2017, where she became inspired by Surgeons’ Hall Museums,…

Pathology Spotlight: A Holey Kidney

The figure shows the cut surface of a kidney revealing dozens of cysts, like bubbles, visible at the cut surface. Polycystic kidney disease (PCKD) is a genetic disorder characterized by the development of numerous cysts of varying size, averaging about 1,000 per kidney. PCKD cysts, which are filled with urine, can enlarge the kidneys, obliterating…

X-Posed – A glimpse into the injuries of WWI

The museum has recently acquired a series of First World War Glass X-ray plates from Bellahouston Auxiliary Hospital in Glasgow dating from 1918-1919. NHS Fife donated the X-rays after they were discovered in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy in 2014. Bellahouston House in Glasgow was converted into a military hospital during the First World War and operated…

Preliminary Diagnosis

Our new Assistant Curator Louise Wilkie writes about her first month at Surgeons’ Hall Museums.  I have now been the Assistant Curator at Surgeons Hall for one month and what a month it has been. There is so much to learn of the rich collections here, not to mention a whole range of new medical…

Unmaking a Murderer

John Baxter writes for Surgeons’ Hall Museums in this guest post chronicling William Burke’s movements in his final 24 hours.  The story of the West Port Murders is one of the most shocking ever recorded in Scottish judicial history.  Over a period of 10 months in 1828, William Burke and William Hare murdered 16 people…

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…