Pain, Pus and Blood


Would you like to be operated on without anaesthetic by a surgeon who hasn’t been to medical college?
People in Victorian times had no choice, and this exhibition brings the horrific realities of the era vividly to life.
Did you know that almost half of all patients undergoing major surgery in Victorian times died, either from blood loss, shock or infection? No one knew about germs, and there were no anaesthetics to numb the pain or antiseptics to keep the wound clean.
Surgeons trained as apprentices at private schools or universities and gained practical experience in hospitals or the armed forces. Most of the time they treated simple problems, applied bandages, set broken bones, lanced boils and pulled teeth. Major operations were rare and a Victorian surgeon had to work quickly with a keen eye and steady hand!
This exhibition provides an absorbing insight into the history of medical procedures and highlights the truly extraordinary advances in surgical techniques that have since been achieved.