BITSofBRITAIN: The Old Operating Theatre

As an avid reader / lurker of Rick's message boards over the years I can safely say that this Liverpool UK resident has picked up many a tip as to what to visit in his own back yard that is Great Britain. ..So Many Thanks for that! If the moderation allows here I'd like to share several "Off the beaten track" places that people may (or indeed may not) be interested to hear about in UK. I'll be as honest as I can and can confirm that I have no connections whatsoever to any of the places mentioned. First up: The Old Operating Theatre in London which Ann, Isabel and I stumbled on by chance a couple of years back..

Posted by Teresa
Seattle
464 posts

I've meant to visit the Old Operating Theatre the last two times I was in London, but it just never worked out. Next time!

Posted by Gary
Liverpool, UK
30 posts

The Old Operating Theatre is situated on St Thomas Street London. The theatre itself was originally part of the old St Thomas' Hospital but when the hospital relocated to Lambeth circa 1860 the old building was demolished and only the tower that now houses the museum was left standing. The operating theatre was basically forgotten about until it was rediscovered by chance in 1956. ..Well that's what the book we had stated.. This place is the country's only surviving example of an early 19th Century operating theatre. Believe me when I say that the steps we had to climb to get to the museum are very, very steep and narrow. (I have warned you!) When we got to the top and paid frighteningly gruesome medical equipment and pickled people's parts in jars lay before us. About 10 minutes after arriving the gentleman in charge asked everyone to follow him into another room. This turned out to be the actual operating theatre. He explained how operations were carried out many years back....Sheesh!!..Strong stomachs required. :-) An American Tourist volunteered to lie down on the operating table. She was brave believe me! :-) We came away with all sorts of facts in our heads..In the early C19 surgeons were regarded by the medical establishment as being little better than butchers..(No offence to butchers) Hence today surgeons do not take the title of Doctor but that of Mister. Would I go again? Probably not..Once was enough but certainly worth a visit!

Posted by Gary
Liverpool, UK
30 posts

I think it cost £5.50 per person last time we went (About 2 yrs back) I would say it was worth it (Just about - The museum is, after all, confined to a small space) Some of the building was used to store herbs for the medicines used. Overall very interesting and fun.

Posted by Sharon
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
892 posts

I agree, Gary. We really enjoyed it, but I don't need to go back.