Home  / Themes


Welcome to the themes page.

The themes are a selection of items from the collection, they do not necessarily contain all the objects and books we have in the collection relating to that subject. 


Apothecaries were the predecessors to modern pharmacists. 
image English Delftware Drug Jars
English Delftware Drug Jars

One of the largest collections of apothecary pots in the UK.

image European Drug Jars
European Drug Jars

Boasting bright colours and beautiful designs.

Diseases and Epidemics

In the 1950s, vaccines were working, penicillin existed, and infectious disease seemed to be coming to an end. But, since then, more than 300 infectious diseases have newly emerged or re-emerged. Preventatives and cures are paramount.

image Cholera

An infectious disease which can cause dehydration and death.

image COVID-19

A global pandemic, 2020-2021.

image HIV/AIDS

Emerging in the 1980s, HIV/AIDs was a terrifying pandemic.

image Polio

A once very common viral infection, now rare thanks to immunisation.

image Smallpox

A former global killer. Smallpox is the only disease humans have eliminated.

image Tuberculosis

A bacterial infection that affects the lungs.

image Vaccination

A way to protect and prevent disease.

Hidden Histories

image Controversial Surgeons and Unethical Practices
Controversial Surgeons and Unethical Practices

Lesser-known deeds of influential medical figures

image LGBTQ+ Stories
LGBTQ+ Stories

Objects with links to LGBTQ+ groups and individuals

image Medical Bias
Medical Bias

Prejudices which influence access to healthcare

image Apothecary Tokens
Apothecary Tokens

Small change issued by Apothecaries in the 17th Century.

image Trade Catalogues
Trade Catalogues

A sample of the 16,000+ medical technology and sundries catalogues in the collection.

image Anaesthesia

From local to general pain relief.

image Antiseptics

Methods to clear germs which can save lives.

image Audiology

One of the largets collections of hearing aids and equipment in the UK.

image Blood Transfusion
Blood Transfusion

Billions of pints of donated blood saves lives each year.

image Prosthetics & Orthotics
Prosthetics & Orthotics

Devices to support, correct, enhance or replace parts of the body.

image Stethoscopes

Tools which started modern western diagnostics.

image X-rays

Imaging technology that lets us see more than bones in the body.

Sexual Health

Sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases have always impacted people, influencing morality, politics and personal relationships around the world.
image Chlamydia

Often symptomless, this is a frequently transmitted STI.

image Contraception

How have people tried to prevent pregnancy and STIs in the past?

image Gonorrhoea

An often uncomfortable STI that used to be confused with syphilis.

image Syphilis

Once one of the scariest sexualy transmitted diseases, now on the up again.

Swarthmore Education Centre

image Charlotte

Objects curated by Charlotte

image Lilli

Objects curated by Lilli

image Tristan

Objects curated by Tristan