Monday, 14 February 2011

Hunterian Museum - Lincoln's Inn Fields WC2

I made the mistake of visiting the astounding Hunterian Museum before lunch - not a good idea.  Situated in the Royal College of Surgeons building in Lincoln's Inn Fields (I feel like LIF needs its own blog post - it is such a beautiful square), the Hunterian is focused mainly on the work and collection of John Hunter, eminent scientist and pioneer surgeon of the 18th century.  The thought of having to endure any sort of surgery back in those days is horrific but at least Hunter approached it from a position of expertise - as a result of amassing an impressive collection of anatomical specimens, human and animal and it is these that are on display.  This place is like a mad scientist's lair - jars of weird and wonderful objects stacked to the ceiling, ranging from armadillo fetuses to still born infants (I always find these a little disturbing), a "giant's" skeleton to human feet from an elephantitis sufferer.  It was when I found a series of jars containing the material scraped from the inside of subcutaneous abscesses that I felt the desire for lunch disappear, but having said that I found this place fascinating.  Not for the faint-hearted, the Hunterian is truly amazing and a relatively unknown gem.  While you are there - also have a look in the library on the same floor that is open to the public and looks out over Lincoln's Inn Fields.  One of those amazing 19th century reading rooms that makes you feel like you are in a Sherlock Holmes story or about to research an expedition to find the lost tribes of the Amazon (or maybe that's just me...)

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