Thackray Medical Museum Review – Leeds

Just before Christmas we were invited to visit the Thackray Medical Museum which is situated in Leeds. It was a freezing, cold day but we spent a really enjoyable afternoon discovering what the museum has to offer. The museum is housed in a wonderful grade II listed building, which used to be a workhouse, close to St James’s hospital.

To raise money in order to preserve the building, visitors are invited to take part in the Thackray Lego project where a lego brick can be bought for £1 and then placed on a scaled down model of the actual museum building. The final model will be made from 150,000 bricks, which will raise £150,000 and will be 3m long and 1m wide. The girls loved placing the bricks on the model and we are looking forward to seeing the final result.

We then ventured into the museum. Be prepared to experience a realistic view of life on the dirty streets of Leeds in the Victorian days. A little gruesome at times, but totally fascinating. You are invited to choose a character prior to entering the street, so that you can see how their life progresses or ends prematurely due to some kind of ( thankfully now treatable) disease!

We then visited the cafe for chocolate cake and mince pies, definitely to be recommended.

A visit to the learning zone was perhaps the children’s favourite part of the day, as it was really interactive. This area reminded me a little of Eureka and it’s designed to really inspire and educate families.

We then visited the second floor of the museum which houses many collections and displays relating to medicine and health care. It was really interesting to learn about TB, especially as it was a disease which affected an elderly relative. The development of surgery, dentistry, pharmacy and midwifery was certainly enlightening, i’m not sure I would have liked to live in Victorian Leeds! The second floor was perhaps a little more geared towards adults and older children and was really interesting. We bypassed some of the more graphic exhibits, but I would like to visit again, on my own in the future to learn more. I qualified as a nurse many years ago and really found all aspects of the museum interesting and I like the way all age groups are accommodated for.

I would definitely recommend a visit to the Thackray Medical Museum for both young and old. Look out for the many events they hold throughout the year.

Thackray Medical Museum


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