Old Operating Theatre review
You'll find the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret in an attic at the top of a tower, and you have to climb up a tight and winding wooden staircase to reach it. It's not your normal kind of museum. It's like a creaky-old cottage in the rafters -- a bit like a witch's cottage in the woods. You probably think that I'm exaggerating, but I promise you I'm not. I'm being totally serious!
There are two sections to it: an old operating theatre that has survived from the 19th-century, plus a doctor's apothecary. It's the apothecary that really fires the imagination because it's decorated with dry, wispy plants and wicker baskets of berries and nuts.
They've got pickled brains, pickled hearts, sliced up kidneys, chopped up livers... skeletons, skulls, bones... if you like to moan about our NHS then come here and you'll never complain again.
They've got plenty of blades, saws, !@$%, forceps, funnels and pointed pipes to stick in various holes as well. Most of the pipes don't fit in any hole that I've got... but I suppose you can make anything fit if you push it hard enough.
The final room is the actual operating theatre itself -- a semi-circle amphitheatre looking down upon the operating table. And it really is a theatre, with five levels of standing seats around a pit, where the patient would put on a show for the watching doctors and students. It must have been truly terrifying. This was real horror. Imagine having to lie on that table with your guts all sliced and diced up with fifty ghouls chewing on their pencils and taking notes. And after ten minutes of that you'd probably die anyway. Because they didn't do operations to cure you in those days -- they did them as a last resort. Those doctors were more dangerous than the disease!
I’ve been here before…
Events at Old Operating Theatre…
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