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Romancing the Stone

Date(s): 16 March 2023

Time: 6.30pm

Cost: £3

Booking Link:

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In 1658, after enduring the pain of bladder stones since childhood, writer Samuel Pepys elected to have surgery. This was a dangerous business in the seventeenth century: there was no anaesthesia, and the chance of death was high. Pepys felt it was worth the risk to relieve his suffering. The operation was a success, and the stone that came out was said to be the size of a tennis ball. Pepys would celebrate the anniversary of being rid of it every year for the rest of his life.


How did Pepys end up with a stone that big in his bladder? And how have these stones resulted in a surgical procedure that has taken place for nearly three thousand years? This talk by Human Remains Conservator Cat Irving will look at how these kind of stones form in the body, and the various ways people have tried to get rid of them

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