The Old Operating Theatre, as Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre, has some astonishing stories to tell. Standing in the space, you can almost hear the echoes of 19th century surgeons carrying out amputations with no anaesthetic as dozens of smoking students shouted their approval or concern.
The museum is open to the public near London Bridge and offers a chance to step back through history – but now gives visitors an opportunity to hear these stories from one of the surgeons themselves, thanks to the magic of augmented reality.
Visitors to the Old Op can use an app to meet Mr Benjamin Travers, a renowned British surgeon who was appointed as lead demonstrator at Old St Thomas’ Hospital and was in charge when the women’s operating theatre was created.
Mr Travers appears as an AR hologram and welcomes visitors to the operating theatre, assuming them to be medical students late for his latest class. Across three short interactions he explains the surgery of Mrs Elizabeth Raigen, a patient whose injuries required her leg to be amputated below the knee, a procedure described at the time in The Lancet, one of the oldest medical journals in the world. Hear all about this fascinating – if slightly gruesome – surgery, from the surgeon himself!
Mr Travers augmented reality experience is live at The Old Operating Theatre now, and is free with admission. Book your museum ticket here.