Surgeons' tools


  • Intro

    This illustration comes from 'The Surgion's Mate', a book for surgeons working on the trading ships owned by the East India Company; Britain’s most powerful trading organisation. The book gives advice on medicines and cures, and on operations such as tooth-drawing, blood-letting and the amputation of limbs!


    Voyages taken by the Company to Asia to trade goods such as spices, fabrics, tea and porcelain could take many months. While these trips were profitable, they were also very dangerous. As well as crew and passengers, the ship carried soldiers and cannons to defend itself against foreign enemies or pirates. There were extreme weather conditions to contend with, which brought about shocking and widely reported shipwrecks. The lack of hygiene was also dangerous to the crew.


    Shelfmark: c.123.e.9.

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