(Picture from Wellcome Images shows Robert Knox lecturing on the anatomy of a pig, 19th century)
As I mentioned the Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh in my last post, I couldn’t neglect the Surgeons, considering the rivalry between the two medical professions….!
The Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh dates back to 1505 when the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh were formally incorporated as a Craft Guild of the city. This recognition was embodied in the Seal of Cause (or Charter of Privileges) which was granted to the Barber Surgeons by the Town Council of Edinburgh.
The Seal of Cause established the role of the Incorporation of Barbers and Surgeons as a body concerned with the maintenance and promotion of the highest standards of surgical practice and this remains the prime purpose of the great international surgical fellowship of the Royal College which has developed from the Incorporation.
Today the College houses a fine museum which shows pathological specimens, the history of surgery, the murderous story of Burke and Hare, a Conan Doyle exhibit, plus possessions of James Young Simpson and Joseph Lister. The Dental Collection is particularly extensive and certainly made me grateful for modern dental techniques. The excellent website provides details of past exhibitions and learning material for teachers:
There is a small entrance fee to the Surgeons’ Hall Museum and guided tours are on offer (check website for details). Year-round talks and workshops are offered, too.
If you have a strong stomach and a few hours to spare in Edinburgh why not take a look?