At the end of the summer term, our GCSE history students visited Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds as part of their GCSE Medicine in Britain, c1250–present and the British sector of the Western Front 1914–18: injuries, treatment and the trenches. The purpose of the visit was to reaffirm subject content and for students to engage in a range of interactive activities relating to the development of medicine over time.

One particular activity that students thoroughly enjoyed engaging in was the injury sustained by 11-year-old Hannah Dyson in the factory where she worked. Through the activity, students discovered that Hannah had her leg amputated, but unfortunately died from infection after the operation, due to poor operating sanitation. This generated lots of discussion amongst students as they could empathise with Hannah being even younger than them and yet forced to work at such a young age, due to the growth of the Industrial Revolution.

Another key area of interest for students was the development of prosthetics that was encouraged as a result of the devastating impact of WWI on British soldiers on the Western Front.  From the wooden stump to the titanium prosthetic leg amongst the most significant progress, it demonstrated how far technology has developed as the need for prosthetics grew after 41,000 British soldiers had lost limbs during key WWI battles.

The visit was a great success with students highlighting how it helped to reaffirm their subject knowledge but in a way that isn’t
always possible in the classroom.