Thackray Medical Museum

The Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, is a museum of the history of medicine adjacent to St James's University Hospital. In 1998 it won "Museum of the Year" and has other awards including in 2004 both the "Excellence in England Small Tourist Attraction of the Year" and "Sandford Award for Heritage Education".[1]

As of May 2019 the museum galleries, cafe and gift shop are temporarily closed for a £4m refurbishment, while the museum conference centre and car park will remain open. No date for re-opening is given on the museum's website.[2]

Thackray Medical Museum
Jimmys Thackray 2008
Museum entrance
LocationBeckett Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England
TypeMedical museum
CEOJoanne Bartholomew


The building is a Grade II listed building, the former Leeds Union Workhouse, which opened in 1861 (foundation stone laid 1858) to accommodate 784 paupers.[3][4] By the end of the 19th century, the buildings had become largely used for medical care of the poor, rather than workhouse and training. During the First World War it was called the East Leeds War Hospital, caring for armed services personnel.[4] The building was later known as the Ashley Wing, which was part of the hospital until the 1990s when the old Leeds Union Workhouse building was considered unfit for modern medicine. As a listed building, it could not be demolished and Parliament gave permission for it to house the Thackray Medical Museum, which opened in 1997.[5]

The museum’s origins can be traced to Great George Street, Leeds, where Charles Thackray opened a small family-run chemist shop in 1902. In less than a century the corner shop grew into one of Britain’s principal medical companies, Chas F Thackray Limited, manufacturing drugs and medical instruments and pioneering the hip replacement operation alongside Sir John Charnley.[6][7] In the 1980s Charles Thackray’s grandson Paul Thackray established a small collection as an archive of the Leeds-based medical supplies company. In 1990 a charitable trust was established to develop the collection.

Museum displays

Highlights include Leeds 1842: Life in Victorian Leeds: visitors walk through a reproduction of slum streets complete with authentic sights, sounds and smells and are invited to follow the lives, ailments and treatments of eight Victorian characters, making the choices that determine their survival amongst the rats, fleas and bedbugs. Pain, Pus and Blood describes surgery before anaesthesia, and how pain relief progressed and Having a Baby focuses on developments in safety for childbirth. Hannah Dyson's Ordeal is a video reconstruction of 1842 surgery, before anaesthetics were in use: visitors watch as a surgeon, his assistant and a group of trainee doctors prepare for Hannah Dyson's operation - the amputation of her leg after it was crushed in a mill accident. (The actual operation is not seen in the reconstruction.) The LifeZone! is an interactive children's gallery, looking at how the human body works, with a smaller room for the under-fives. The 'Recovery?' Gallery explores treatment of veterans of warfare, looking at the First World War and modern conflict medicine. There is a temporary exhibition gallery which changes annually.[8]

Thackray Moving and Growing

Moving and Growing. Activity zone for children

Thackray Open Wide

Entrance to feature on the digestive system

Thackray Street Scene 2

Slum street in Victorian Leeds

Thackray Midwife Scene

Tableau of a 19th-century midwife at work

Thackray Apothecary 1

Part of the Wilkinson Apothecary Gallery

Apothecary image


Amputation Set Thackray

Set of tools for amputation

Red wine and germ theory

Red wine and germ theory


The Thackray Medical Museum houses a collection of over 50,000 objects from medical history which date from Roman times to the present day. The museum also cares for a collection of historical medical trade literature, which can be accessed by visitors in the museum's Library and Resource Centre by appointment. Highlights in the collection include the Wilkinson English Delftware apothecary jar display, an impressive display of early pharmaceutical jars which are all on permanent display. Also on display is Prince Albert's personal medicine chest and a selection of eighteenth and nineteenth century surgical equipment including amputation knives, saws and trepanning instruments.[9]

The Thackray Medical Museum featured in Most Haunted on 1 November 2015 on Really (TV channel).[10]

Temporary exhibitions

The Thackray Medical Museum was one of fifteen venues across the UK, Europe and Africa to have been selected by the Wellcome Trust to, simultaneously, exhibit the winning collection from the Wellcome Image Awards, 2016. The awards celebrate scientists, clinicians, photographers and artists of images that best communicate significant aspects of biomedical science. A temporary exhibition of twenty images was displayed at the Thackray Medical Museum. The display included inside the human eye, a 3D image produced using optical coherence tomography. The image depicts blood vessels as tunnel like structures. Other images focused on bone development, the Ebola virus and engineering human liver tissue.[11]

Medicine and history lecture series

The museum offers a medicine and history lecture series which runs from October to March each year. Lectures focus on the changing nature of health and medicine. Themes explored include robot-assisted surgery and health informatics.[12]

Education and learning

Visited by 20,000 school students each year the museum delivers a series of in-classroom work and education resources, loans boxes and teacher events. The museum has been awarded the Sandford Award for Heritage Education.[13]


  1. ^ Thackray Museum (2008) Thackray Museum Background Information
  2. ^ "Upcoming developments". Thackray Museum. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  3. ^ Historic England. "St James Hospital Northside Building (1256272)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "St James's University Hospital". Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Archived from the original on 18 March 2006. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  5. ^ "Thackray Medical Museum". Thackray Medical Museum. 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Chas. F. Thackray Limited, suppliers to the surgeons". Socialist Health Association. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  7. ^ Gomez, PF; Morcuende, JA (2005). "A Historical and Economic Perspective on Sir John Charnley, Chas F. Thackray Limited, and the Early Arthroplasty Industry". Iowa Orthop J. 25: 30–7. PMC 1888784. PMID 16089068.
  8. ^ "Exhibitions - Thackray Museum - Leeds Museum". Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Library & Collections - Thackray Museum - Leeds Museum". Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Most Haunted | UKTV Play". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Welcome Image Awards 2016". Wellcome Trust Foundation. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Thackray Medical Museum". Thackray Medical Museum. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Thackray Medical Museum". Thackray Medical Museum. Retrieved 3 November 2016.

External links

Coordinates: 53°48′29″N 1°31′06″W / 53.80806°N 1.51833°W

Berkeley Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan

Berkeley George Andrew Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan (2 October 1865 – 7 September 1936), known as Sir Berkeley Moynihan, 1st Baronet, from 1922 to 1929, was a noted British abdominal surgeon.

Charles Thackrah

Charles Turner Thackrah, MRCS Eng; (1795, in Leeds – 1833) was an English surgeon. He was a pioneer in the field of occupational medicine, and was a founder member of the Leeds School of Medicine. He died of tuberculosis in 1833, at the age of 38.A building was opened in his honour and given his name at the University of Leeds in around 2007.

He is not to be confused with Charles Thackray of the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds.

Charles Thackray

Charles Frederick Thackray (1877-1934) (not to be confused with the surgeon Charles Thackrah) was a pharmacist and manufacturer of surgical instruments in Leeds.

Thackray began an apprenticeship in pharmacy at the Bradford firm of F. M. Rimmington & Son. He then went to work at the prestigious Squire & Son, Queen Victoria’s official chemist’s in the West End of London, and rounded off his education with a spell working on the Continent. He qualified as a pharmacist in 1899 and in 1902 opened a chemist shop in Great George Street, Leeds with his partner Henry Scurrah Wainwright. In 1903 Thackray married Helen Pearce, daughter of a leading Leeds jeweller. They lived in Roundhay, moving to bigger houses as business prospered.

The company bought a sterilizer 1906 meant to develop another side to the business, supplying sterilized dressings to the Leeds General Infirmary, the nearby Women’s and Children’s Hospital and neighbouring nursing homes. The early years of the firm coincided with major advances in surgical techniques. Leeds was a centre of high-calibre surgeons, many of whom made their names at the Infirmary; best known was Berkeley Moynihan, 1st Baron Moynihan, who achieved worldwide recognition for his contribution to abdominal surgery. It was Moynihan who first suggested to Charles Thackray that he should make instruments; and the firm, with its experience in repairs at their premises just across the road, was well placed to do so. By 1914 Thackray’s was employing 25 people, including eight instrument makers and three full-time representatives. Salesmen visited customers over a wide area, supplying wholesale pharmaceuticals not only to hospitals and nursing homes but also to general practitioners serving rural areas. The War Office's acceptance of Thackray’s ‘Aseptic’ range as standard field dressings was important to the firm, both ensuring large contracts for drugs and sundries. By 1918 Thackray’s employed fourteen instrument makers, out of a total workforce of 32. In the 1930s the firm began to make its own hospital sterilizers, operating tables and other items of theatre furniture.

Charles Thackray died suddenly at the age of 57 in 1934. He failed to return from an evening walk in Roundhay Park near his home and later his body was recovered from Waterloo Lake.

The firm continued to prosper as a limited company and in the 1950s acquired the British Cystoscope Co Ltd, in Clerkenwell, London, and Thomas Rudd Ltd of Sheffield, makers of surgical scissors.

The company was a pioneer in manufacturing replacement hips, having collaborated with the "father" of modern hip replacement surgery, Sir John Charnley. Thackray began manufacturing the Charnley Hip System in 1963 and it is still the best selling cemented hip system in the world.The Thackray Medical Museum, founded by his grandson Paul Thackray is situated on the outskirts of Leeds in a Victorian workhouse building adjacent to St James's University Hospital.

Culture of Leeds

Leeds is known for its culture in the fields of art, architecture, music, sport, film and television. As the largest city in Yorkshire, Leeds is a centre of Yorkshire's contemporary culture and is the base for Yorkshire's television (BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 to come) and regional newspapers.

In 2015 Leeds announced its intention to bid for European Capital of Culture 2023. Following the European Commission's decision for the UK to no longer able to bid to be part of the European Capital of Culture Competition, the City Council, along with partners, committed to a five-year cultural investment programme culminating in a year of cultural celebration in 2023.

Ernst Kromayer

Ernst Kromayer (26 September 1862 in Stralsund – 6 May 1933 in Berlin) was a German dermatologist. He was the younger brother of historian Johannes Kromayer (1859–1934).

He studied medicine at the universities of Strasbourg, Würzburg, and Bonn, receiving his doctorate in 1885. From 1888 he worked as an assistant to Karl Koester at the pathology clinic in Bonn, and in 1890 qualified as a lecturer at the University of Halle. At Halle he established a clinic for skin and venereal diseases that eventually acquired the status of a university clinic. In 1901 he received the title of professor at the university, then in 1904 relocated to Berlin, where he opened a private practice.He is best remembered for inventing a water-cooled mercury-vapor lamp (Kromayer lamp) for ultraviolet irradiation of the skin. On 23 October 1906 he received a patent for the lamp. He also made pioneer contributions in regards to dermabrasion; around 1905 he introduced a device that consisted of rotating burrs attached to a dental drill, being designed for the removal of unwanted skin layers.In 1962 Grünstraße ("Green Street") in Halle an der Saale was renamed Ernst-Kromayer-Straße in his honor.

Henry Lascelles, 4th Earl of Harewood

Henry Thynne Lascelles, 4th Earl of Harewood (18 June 1824 – 24 June 1892), was a British peer and the son of Henry Lascelles, 3rd Earl of Harewood.

He took a great interest in the operation of the Leeds General Infirmary, and the St James Hospital Workhouse, working with the Chairman of the Leeds Board of Guardians, Major (William) Middleton Esq., to provide lavish decorations for the hospitals' patients at Christmas, 1872.

Iron lung

A negative pressure ventilator, also known as iron lung (colloquialism) or pulmotor (generic trademark), is a mechanical respirator which enables a person to breathe on his or her own in a normal manner, when muscle control is lost, or the work of breathing exceeds the person's ability. Need for this treatment may result from certain diseases (e.g. polio, botulism) and certain poisons (e.g. barbiturates, tubocurarine).

Its use is largely obsolete in modern medicine, as superior breathing therapies have been developed, and due to the eradication of polio.Examples of the device include both the Drinker respirator, the Emerson respirator, and the Both (or Emerson-Drinker) respirator. The negative form of pressure ventilation (decreasing surrounding pressure to induce inhalation then repressurizing to 1 bar (15 psi; 750 mmHg)) has been almost entirely superseded by positive pressure ventilation (forcing air into the lungs with a pressure greater than 1 bar then allowing the body to naturally exhale before repeating) or negative pressure cuirass ventilation

John Frederick Wilkinson

John Frederick "Wilkie" Wilkinson (10 June 1897, Oldham, Lancashire — 13 August 1998, Knutsford, Cheshire) was a chemist, physician, and pioneering haematologist. He was among the first physicians to experiment with chemotherapy for leukaemia.After secondary education at Arnold School, Wilkinson began in 1913 his study of chemistry at the University of Manchester. In 1916 he joined the Royal Naval Air Service.

He saw action at the Battle of Zeebrugge in 1918 while serving on HMS Vindictive. His name was put forward for the ballot for the award of the Victoria Cross for his conduct on the Mole, part of the sea defence wall of Zeebrugge harbour. According to official accounts, Vindictive came alongside the Mole and Wilkinson ran along it, throwing bombs into the U-boats. However, only one VC could be awarded per action and he was not chosen.

His work with the Navy to train sea-lions in the defusing of bombs was not an entire success. The sea-lions were carefully trained in their task, and then released into the sea from their specially designed harnesses. However, instead of following their training, they would swim away and never be seen again.

When WWI ended, Wilkinson resumed his study of chemistry at the University of Manchester, graduating in 1920 BSc with first class honours, in 1921 MSc, and in 1923 PhD. At the University of Manchester he became a demonstrator in crystallography, but then studied medicine, qualifying MB ChB Manch in 1928. Experience of the effects of mustard gas in WWI suggested to him that nitrogen mustards might be effective against bone marrow cancers. With Martin C. G. Israëls, Wilkinson experimented with these agents as therapy for patients with leukaemia.

The official history of Christie Cancer Hospital in Manchester, where he was honorary consulting haematologist, records his use of war gases (including nitrogen and mustard gas) on cancer patients, with encouraging results.

He was a keen motorcyclist, and would travel long distances by bike. During the Twenties he found buttons inconvenient on his motorcycling gear and had a zip incorporated into the design of his moleskin trousers, long before commercial manufacturers took up the idea.

In his youth he was extremely active in The Boy Scouts Association. As a scout he was presented with a badge by Baden-Powell in 1919. In 1924 the increasing demands of his medical career caused him to resign from most of his Scouting commitments, but he continued his involvement with Scouting until his death. He had a large and successful private practice mainly at his rooms at Lorne Street, Manchester, but he sometimes made domicilliary visits in the counties near Manchester.In 1926 George R. Minot and William P. Murphy published their famous paper on feeding raw liver to patients with pernicious anaemia. Wilkinson demonstrated a relation between diet and haematinic activity in tissue by studying stomachs and livers from many species of animals at Manchester's Belle Vue Zoological Gardens and later at Chester Zoo. From 1928 to 1947 at the Manchester Royal Infirmary he was director of the department of clinical investigations and research.In 1931 he graduated with medical research MD from the medical school of the University of Manchester. During the 1930s he once was called upon to delouse the entire ballet company of the Sadler Wells Ballet. From 1934–1948 he was a lecturer in systematic medicine at the University of Manchester.Wilkinson was from 1938 to 1946 the director of the Manchester and Salford Blood Transfusion Service and from 1939 to 1946 a regional officer for the North West Blood Transfusion Service. During the 1940s he, with Frank Fletcher, did pioneering research on chemotherapy for leukæmia, Hodgkin's disease, and polycythæmia vera. From 1947 to 1962 Wilkinson was at the University of Manchester a reader in medicine and haematology and at the Manchester Royal Infirmary head of the department of haematology. He was a co-founder, with Leslie John Witts, of the British Society for Haematology. In 1962 Wilkinson retired from the National Health Service, but he continued to treat patients when he was in his nineties.In 1977 in his Samuel Gee lecture, Wilkinson described his extensive collection of antique medicine jars. The collection is now displayed at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds. He was a motorist on both roads and race-courses, a keeper of tropical fish, and a collector of antique porcelain (as well as antique medical jars).In 1964 in Bucklow, Cheshire, he married Marion Crossfield (1920–2003), a Major in the Women's Royal Army Corps, but they separated in the 1990s.

Listed buildings in Leeds

There are 3,300 listed buildings in Leeds. Full lists can be found at Grade I listed buildings in West Yorkshire and Grade II* listed buildings in Leeds. Those buildings with articles are listed below, subdivided by ward. The grade of each building (I, II* or II) is shown after its name. Clicking on the entry number for each will show the full listing description from Historic England.

Mary Bateman

Mary Bateman (1768 – 20 March 1809) was an English criminal and alleged witch, known as the Yorkshire Witch, who was tried and executed for murder during the early 19th century.

Mat Fraser

Mat Fraser is an English rock musician, actor, writer and performance artist. He has thalidomide-induced Phocomelia. In 2017, he was cast to play Shakespeare’s Richard III at the Hull Truck Theatre as part of Hull City of Culture 2017.

Morris Motors

Morris Motors Limited was a British privately owned motor vehicle manufacturing company formed in 1919 to take over the assets of William Morris's WRM Motors Limited and continue production of the same vehicles. By 1926 its production represented 42 per cent of British car manufacture—a remarkable expansion rate attributed to William Morris's practice of buying in major as well as minor components and assembling them in his own factory. Self-financing through his enormous profits Morris did borrow some money from the public in 1926 and later shared some of Morris Motors' ownership with the public in 1936 when the new capital was used by Morris Motors to buy many of his other privately held businesses.

Though it merged into larger organisations in 1952, the Morris name remained in use until 1984, when British Leyland's Austin Rover Group decided to concentrate on the more popular Austin brand.

Until 2014 Morris Oxford vehicles (based on the 1954-59 Oxford) were manufactured with periodic enhancements in India by Hindustan Motors.

Part of Morris's manufacturing complex at Cowley, Oxford is now BMW Group's Plant Oxford, headquarters of the MINI marque.

The Morris trademark is currently owned by the China-based automotive company SAIC after being transferred from bankrupt subsidiary Nanjing Automotive.

Most Haunted

Most Haunted is a British paranormal reality television series. It was first shown on Living TV between May 2002 and July 2010. A new online edition aired on 31 October 2013 with Really taking over broadcast from August 2014. Presented by Yvette Fielding, the programme investigates purported paranormal activity in a range of locations, mainly within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The series is produced by Antix Productions.

Most Haunted was first aired on Living TV from May 2002 until July 2010, when the network decided to axe the programme.

After 4 years of being off-air, Fielding and Karl Beattie, the producer of the programme, confirmed that following a successful online episode, Most Haunted would be returning to screens in August 2014, aired by Really.

Over 275 episodes of the programme have been broadcast to date, with the 24th series airing in early 2019.

St James's University Hospital

St. James's University Hospital is in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England and is popularly known as Jimmy's being one of the United Kingdom's most famous hospitals, due to its coverage on television. It is managed by the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Tourism in Leeds

Leeds in West Yorkshire, England is a tourist destination. It has received several accolades in the field of tourism; including being voted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine Readers' Awards as the "UK's favourite city" in 2004, "Best English city to visit outside London" in 2005, "Visitor city of the year" by The Good Britain Guide in 2005 and was described as a great place to visit by Rough Guide in 2008.

In the 2017 Condé Nast Traveler survey of readers, Leeds rated 6th among The 15 Best Cities in the UK for visitors. Lonely Planet named Leeds as one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017.

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