“You’ve GOT to come over now.” I screeched down the phone to Shannon, “This place is AMAZING. I’m looking at a walrus foetus right now. Can you believe it?!”
The Hunterian Museum is now top of my list of favourite places in London. Plus, it is free to visit. Nestled in between Holborn and Temple, within the Royal College of Surgeons, this isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Rosie, my very talented drummer sister, and I were here to attend the ‘Open Surgery’ suturing session, otherwise known as ‘sewing lessons’. However, instead of making a rucksack, we each had a squishy plastic arm in desperate need of our help. Under the guidance of a medical student, we were taught how to use the scientifically named ‘Needle holders’ and learnt that toothed tweezers were for clutching skin and toothless ones for everything else. It was amazing.
The suturing lessons don’t go on for long enough in my opinion and all too soon the next group of wannabe doctors were piling in.
So Rosie and I started our inspection of the Hunterian Museum itself. Spread over two floors, it contains fascinating medical artifacts and gives a brief history of medical evolution across the years. All I can say is THANK FAAARK I wasn’t around. Did you know that in 1821, to amputate a leg, they used a metal tourniquet to suppress blood flow, chopped through the flesh to the bone then used what was called a ‘cloth retractor’ which went in between the cut flesh and around the part of the leg that was staying and by pulling it up, you dragged the flesh up. This left a gap with just the bone showing for the doctor to saw through. Mmm.
Needless to say, it’s best not to dwell on surgery a hundred years ago. My favourite bit about the Hunterian Museum is all the weird animal and body parts floating in jars. Charles Babbage’s brain, a cranial cast from Jonathan Swift, tentacles, a baby sloth, an impregnated uterine horn of a cat (including the placenta), skulls reminiscent from the latest Indiana Jones films and a whole load of penises fill the shelves.
For anyone at all interested in biology or human anatomy, I strongly advise you pay the Hunterian Museum a visit. It is brutal, fascinating, uncomfortable and mesmerising. Great for curious kids and adults alike (and less scary than the top floor in the Science Museum).
What to wear: Ideally a pair of medical scrubs to get you in the mood. Or just your normal, everyday clothes; dead people don’t judge.
Best for: A fascinating and educational evening. In my opinion, would be perfect as a first date location.
Best bit: The weird animals
Open Tuesday- Saturday 10am-5pm.
Closed Sunday, Monday and bank holidays.
Tel: 020 7869 6560 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And to say thanks for everything reading to bottom of this post, here are some WILLIES!