London Photo, The Old Operating Theatre, Southwark

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London photo, The Old Operating Theatre, Southwark

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The Old Operating Theatre Museum is a fascinating museum based around the earliest known example of a purpose-built medical operating theatre in Europe, dating back to the early 19th century. The 'theatre' is located under the eaves of St Thomas's church beside St Thomas Hospital in Southwark. There were originally two operating theatres designed for teaching students of St Thomas Hospital; one for women, and one for men. The men's theatre has been lost, but this, the female theatre, was rediscovered after many years, located under the church eaves beside the Herb Garett used to store and cure medicinal herbs for patient treatment. The museum is a treasure-trove of medical history, from herbal medicines to early medical instruments. Displays recount the development of medical treatment over time (and make you awfully glad you are alive today rather than back then!).

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