Follow the brown signs
From Manchester to Leeds our Olympic torch travels today. Along the way lies the community of Harehills in Leeds and on the grounds of St James’ University Hospital lies the Thackray Museum. Being located right inside a hospital you won’t be surprised to learn that this museum is dedicated to medicine and the health sciences.
The museum delves into the history of medicine and the way advances in science, surgical techniques and treating infection using antibiotics have changed our lives beyond all recognition.
Exhibitions that explore this in gruesome detail show how the population flocking to cities such as Leeds and Manchester during the Industrial Revolution in Victorian times meant that overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of a public health service meant life expectancy was just 50 years old, and that was if you were lucky enough to reach 21, 1 in 5 children died before they were 5 and 1 in 30 mothers died in childbirth. Cripes, no more moaning about the NHS please people!
The exhibition that got me reading despite my squeamishness was “Pain, Pus and Blood” which details the history of surgery and the rudimentary tools and techniques that were used back in the day. Through the “Hannah Dyson’s Ordeal” exhibition visitors can follow a young factory worker after her leg got mangled in machinery at work and the stages she went through when doctors at the hospital needed to amputate her leg and save her life. Frankly I think I’d rather die than have to deal with a slow long hacking and sawing at my gangrenous limbs while I had some sort of mental breakdown with the pain. I had an ingrowing toenail once and even that’s too much for me *shudders*.
All in all another brilliantly executed museum with loads going on and a nice quirky location in the hospital along the Olympic torch relay, I like it a lot 🙂