Make the most of London

 

The Old Operating Theatre Museum

June 11, 2020
The Old Operating Theatre Museum

Up a narrow 52-step spiral staircase and in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas' Hospital is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe. Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, this atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. The original timber framed Herb Garret was once used to dry and store herbs for patients' medicines and in 1822 an operating theatre was included. The Old Operating Theatre Museum has a special place in my heart. It was here, on the evening of a Valentine's Day several years ago, that I went on one of my earliest dates with who is now my hubby. It would be fair to say that this wasn't a conventional date, as this was a date to attend a lecture on The History of Syphilis, romantic eh? 

The museum is very different from any other space in London. There are very few glass display cabinets, instead the displays are laid out as if in use in the herb garret. It's a very creative and atmospheric space. At my last visit just before lockdown I attended a free workshop and made a nosegay. Each time I visit I have a different experience. 

Not only does the museum offer talks like I attended they also do film nights, special events, have a great education programme and also a specialty shop dedicated to the history of Georgian and Victorian Medicine and Surgery. 

You can hear Monica the museum's Marketing and Events Manager talk about its history with me in my podcast.

Lockdown is looking to lift soon, so add The Old Operating Theatre Museum to your list of Things To Do in London and buy your tickets online now.

 

Coffee Houses - a hotbed for revolution

June 6, 2020

Coffeehouses became a hub of news and inevitably a place where new ideas were formed. Boy runners were sent from coffee house to coffee house in order to relay information on major events of the day. After a while coffeehouses became members only clubs in order control the clientele and raise the status of the particular coffeehouse. This conversion of coffee houses into clubs came at the same time as coffee consumption began to decline due to import duties on coffee increased significantly....


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London's Coffeehouses of 18th Century London

June 5, 2020

London's coffeehouse culture and its commerce were intrinsically linked. During the 18th century a new active culture evolved. Coffeehouses sprang up all over London and attracted a variety of patrons with a head for business. The crowd at coffeehouses included doctors, merchants, writers and politicians.

Over two-thousand coffee houses existed in London by the closing of the seventeenth century. Here are some of London's prominent coffeehouses in the 18th century that we didn't have time t...


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London's Folklore

May 29, 2020

Why is storytelling important? “It's the foundation of how we understand the world. When we're looking back on our own life, we make narratives about the people who we know and about ourselves and think about your life. You've always got the kind of grandparents who read out the same old stories again and again, and that's how you understand your own life. So our whole life and our whole thought is all structured around stories and a city like London is basically, you may say it's built br...


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Music Halls and Cabaret - from yesterday to today

May 22, 2020

Modern cabaret and burlesque shows can trace their roots back to the taverns and coffee houses of 18th century London. Hear how they grew in popularity and made history.

Variety shows in London still continue today, often with venues with a single doorway leading out into the street. Some are steeped in history and others are making history today.

Making history today is Ivy Paige, international showgirl, singer and burlesque queen. Check out our Episode 9 Podcast to hear Ivy's experiences back...


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A Fine House For A Ship's Captain

May 22, 2020

Rainham Hall, in the London Borough of Havering may not be the largest house in London, but it is certainly one of the most charming. Now owned by the National Trust it was built for a ship’s captain. Captain John Harle, one of the traders and ship owners who made 18th Century London wealthy, showed off his fortune by building Rainham Hall in 1729.

Harle was born in South Shields , in the North East of England and began his career sailing on ships bringing coal from Newcastle to feed London...


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