The Old Operating Theatre
The Old Operating Theatre is a very unique museum providing a fascinating glimpse into the early days of surgery in the early 1800's
This very unusual museum is located up a very narrow flight of stairs inside the garret of St. Thomas's Church which was also original location of St. Thomas's Hospital. Visitors to this lesser known London attraction find it very intriguing and highly recommend it. The Old Operating Theatre is one of the oldest operating theatres still in existence. Opened in 1822, the patients were women from the adjoining women's hospital.
Procedures were performed without anaesthetics so they were done as rapidly as possible while the patient was subdued by alcohol or opiates. Later they began to use ether or chloroform. Patients put up with students watching the operation in the Theatre, as they were generally poor, and this allowed them receive surgery from top surgeons that they could in no way afford otherwise.
Cleanliness was 'sacred', however the risk of death was still very high due to the lack of available treatments for infection and the shock of surgery.
The Operating Theatre closed in 1862 when the hospital was moved to a new location and it remained undiscovered for nearly 100 years until 1957. It is opened to the public as a museum in 1962.
The Old Operating Theatre is open daily from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm except for December 15th-January 5th. There is a small admission charge, however admission is free with the London Pass.
For more information about the The Old Operating Theatre including admission charges and hours visit their official website: The Old Operating Theatre