We have a large range of medical,
surgical, dental, pharmaceutical and nursing equipment and an
extensive collection of memorabilia, photographs and other archival
Our displays include a dental surgery of
the 1930s, a ward of the 1950s, an iron lung, audio recordings of
patients and staff, a working demonstration of a fibre-optic
endoscope, and live leeches.
The following are examples of equipment and illustrations that
are on display.
|Click on thumbnails to enlarge
||The Royal Berkshire Hospital in 1839. One reason for the
building of the hospital was the large number of serious injuries
occurring during the construction of the Great Western Railway. The
first patient treated at the hospital was George Earley, a railway
worker aged 15. He had sustained a severe compound fracture of the
upper arm which required amputation at the shoulder.
||Douglas Bader at the nurses' prize-giving at the Royal
Berkshire Hospital in 1957. Bader, the hospital's most famous
patient, was treated at the RBH following his disastrous flying
accident at Woodley aerodrome in 1931. A display on Bader's
connection with the hospital can be seen in the concourse of the
Centre Block of the RBH.
Iron lung machines were developed in the 1930s to help
victims of poliomyelitis who were suffering from respiratory
failure. A negative pressure was created inside the tank by
means of a large bellows, the patient's chest would expand and air
would be drawn in through their nose and mouth. This model
dates from the 1960s.
The Royal Berkshire hopsital clock which was stolen in 2004 and
recovered in 2010.
''A little sun and 'air from Felixstowe'.
This an example from our collection of medical postcards. We
have a glass feeding bottle of this type on display.
|| Tiles depicting 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.
Copies of tile depictions of nursery rhymes and children’s
stories can be seen on the walls of the museum. The originals are
in King Edward Ward which was built in 1911 as the children’s ward
of the RBH.
|| Royal Berkshire Hospital operating theatre 1928
This was the main hospital theatre from 1882 to 1928. The 'new'
twin general theatres were built in 1928 and this then became the
hospital's ENT theatre.
|| Victoria Ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the
Note the 'hospital corners' on the beds, the highly polished
surfaces and the presence of a piano.
A collection of glass eyes which belong to the last lady glass
eye blower in the UK.
All our guides are retired hospital staff. They will be
happy to answer your questions and will be pleased to demonstrate
various pieces of equipment. If you have any items that you would
like identified please bring them along. We will do our best to
help although we cannot undertake valuations.
Books on local medical history are sold in aid of the Heritage
'Care and Compassion. Old Prints and Photographs of
Hospitals and Nurses in Berkshire and South Oxfordshire 1839-1930.'
Published by the Heritage Centre. Price £6.00.
'Early Medical Services. Berkshire and South Oxfordshire
from 1740.' Margaret Railton. Price £10.00.
'The Royal Berkshire Hospital 1839-1989.' Margaret
Railton and Marshall Barr. Price £10.00
'Battle Hospital and Workhouse
1867-2005.' Margaret Railton and
Marshall Barr. ISBN 0-9539417-1-X. Price £15.99 – SOLD OUT
'Reading Hospital Ward names: past and present'. Marshall Barr
and Lionel Williams. Price £1.00
'Leonard and John Joyce: Suregeons of Reading and Newbury'.
Marshall Barr and Lionel Williams. Price £1.00.
Charity number 1084890