Visit Worcestershire Royal Hospital Medical Museum

Worcestershire Royal Hospital Medical Museum and Infirmary Museum – May 2024

On the 8th May 19 members of the Civic Society visited two Worcester Museums linked to historical developments and the transformation in medicine and healthcare in earlier times.

The first visit was to The George Marshal Medical Museum at Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Following an intriguing presentation by Louise Robinson on death masks and phrenology ( a pseudoscience from the 17th, 18th and early 19th century that involved the measurement of bumps on the skull to predict mental traits ) we looked around the Museum. This comprised a collection of objects illustrating the way that medicine and healthcare have developed over the past 250 years. We saw a collection of death masks, including some of hanged criminals, a reconstructed apothecary shop and a Victorian operating theatre. The exhibition even included a wooden chair to which patients were strapped while limbs were amputated, at a time before anaesthetics were available!

Following lunch we travelled to the Infirmary Museum on Castle Street. Here we were given an excellent Talk by Harriet Hathaway, the Museum Curator, and a guided tour of the magnificent Charles Hastings Building. This included seeing the Jenny Lind Chapel and also the Board Room, which was originally known as the Physician’s Room. This was the location for the setting up of the Medical Committee which in 1832 became the British Medical Association (BMA). Before leaving we spent time in the museum which contains a fascinating interactive collection of medical artefacts from the region and beyond.