Diorama showing naval surgery in the 1800s, England, 1986

Made:
1986 in United Kingdom

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

"Naval surgery in 1800" diorama in Lower Wellcome Gallery. From a colour transparency in the Science Museum
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

"Naval surgery in 1800" diorama in Lower Wellcome Gallery. From a colour transparency in the Science Museum
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

"Naval surgery in 1800" diorama in Lower Wellcome Gallery. From a colour transparency in the Science Museum
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

"Naval surgery in 1800", diorama in Lower Wellcome Gallery

In larger ships, the ‘orlop’ deck was usually the lowest deck. Situated below the waterline, it was very dark and cramped. During battles it was often transformed into an area for surgery and medical treatment. This diorama shows an imagined scene during a sea battle from the 1800s. A sailor is having his leg amputated because a large piece of wood is embedded in it – probably a common injury when the wooden structures of the ship were hit by enemy fire.

Anaesthetics were not yet in use so sailors had only alcohol for pain relief and a piece of leather to bite on when the pain was at its height. A tub beside the ship’s surgeon is already filled with limbs. At this time, sailors were treated in the order they arrived rather than by their injuries – today they would be prioritised according to the severity of their injuries. Infections and blood poisoning spread easily as the same equipment and sponges were used on everyone without being washed after each patient was treated.

Details

Category:
Surgery
Object Number:
1986-1526
type:
diorama
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
credit:
Derek and Patricia Freeborn Limited
status:
Permanent collection

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.