Artificial leg made for a child, England, 1903

1903 in Blyth

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Peg leg made in the shipyard at Blyth (Northumbria) by the father of a 3 year old boy who lost his right leg below the knee in 1903. The patient was still wearing a conventional below knee prosthesis at the age of 79.

What do you do if you lose a leg but no artificial ones are available? Until well into the 20th century, many people could not afford one. They either relied on charity or their ingenuity. They often improvised with whatever materials they could find. This artificial limb was made in 1903 in the shipyard at Blyth, Northumbria, England by the father of a three year-old boy who lost his right leg below the knee.

Artificial limbs are very personal items. Extensive home repairs show the lengths some people go to keep a limb they feel comfortable with. This leg seems well used because the base is worn down and home repairs have been made. The leg was probably made from a chair or table leg and reinforced with a metal ‘sleeve’. In England today, hi-tech prosthetic limbs have replaced wooden ‘peg legs’ of the past.

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Object Number:
leather, metal, wood
artificial leg
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • prosthesis
  • artificial limb
Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust
Permanent collection

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