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200 Years of Surgical Instrument Making: The Edinburgh Firm Archibald Young

Date(s): 12 May 2022

Time: 7pm

Cost: £3

Booking Link:

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We know much about the lives of Edinburgh’s surgeons and their contributions to the improvement of surgical techniques. But what do we know about the surgical instrument makers? What histories can we find? How does this knowledge benefit museums and their collections?

Join Ruth Pollitt for this presentation which reveals the story of Edinburgh firm Archibald Young (& Son) (Ltd) beginning in the late 18th century and traces their development through the 19th and 20th centuries. Using examples of instruments from Surgeons Hall Museums and historical documents held in UK archives this talk will present a fascinating glimpse into one of Edinburgh’s longest surviving surgical instrument makers.


Ruth Pollitt is the Museum and Collections Assistant at the University of Edinburgh's Anatomical Museum. Ruth has also worked with Surgeons Hall Museums assisting with the ‘Anatomy Acts’ exhibition in 2006. In 2005, Ruth completed a Master of Arts Degree in Museum Studies at Newcastle University and completing a historical research dissertation on the surgical instrument maker Archibald Young & Son of Edinburgh.

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