Early surgery, University College Hospital Medical School, London, 1898.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The operation is taking place within a lecture theatre and several medical students serve as surgical dresers. The nurse on the left seems to be attending a boiling water instrument steriliser, probably heated by a gas burner. The operating rooms of 1898 were very different from those in use today. Then, staff tried to kill any germs which were present, whereas today they try to stop germs from reaching the operating theatre.