Leech jar, England, 1831-1859

Made:
1831-1859 in Burslem
maker:
Samuel Alcock and Company

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Pharmacy leech jar, ornate blue gilt earthenware, by Alcock at Hill Pottery, Burslem, English, 1831-1859

Leeches were stored in this jar in a pharmacy before being sold to physicians for bloodletting, once a popular therapy believed to cure a range of conditions. Leeches are a type of worm which have a front sucker that draws blood from the body. They were collected from river beds by women. Demand was so great that by the 1830s supplies were running short. Today, leeches are used to reduce swelling following reconstructive surgery.

The jar was made by Samuel Alcock & Co, a pottery manufacturer based in Stoke-on-Trent, England.

On display

Science Museum: Journeys through Medicine: Henry Wellcome's Legacy

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Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
A43107
Materials:
complete, earthenware
Measurements:
undefined
type:
leech jar
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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