National Civil War Centre

Mortality, Care and Military Welfare during the British Civil Wars

August 7-8, 2015. Day 1 starts at 9:30 and ends at 19:00. Day 2 starts at 10:00 and ends at 16:00.

If you thought 17th century surgery was all about hacking away and hoping for the best then you are in for a big surprise! A major new exhibition will be unveiled at the National Civil War Centre in February next year, concentrating on the little known but totally fascinating subject of battlefield medicine and welfare during the epic British Civil Wars.

17th century surgical instruments on show at Civil War CentreOn show will be a host of amazing exhibits including beautifully crafted surgical instruments from forceps to scalpels loaned by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and the wheelchair used by Parliamentarian commander in chief Sir Thomas Fairfax.

The war between King and Parliament saw five percent of England's population wiped out due to fighting and disease.

But many more injured and sick survived the tumult in part due to major advances in medicine.

Glyn Hughes, Team Leader for Collections at the National Civil War Centre, explained:

“This was pretty much total war and it was in the interests of both sides to get injured soldiers back in the field fighting again as soon as possible.  You can almost trace the origins of our present universal health service to this period as in 1642 Parliament passes an act assuming responsibility for the medical care of soldiers and their families. The first military hospital is also established.”

Whilst the physicians of the day may not have understood the way infections are spread, they knew enough about health outcomes to change patients' linen regularly.

Their treatment of soldiers suffering from what we now call shell shock was also surprisingly enlightened with trips to take the waters in places such as Bath on the prescription.

As a result of this new exhibition, The National Civil War Centre is hosting a major international conference on mortality, care and military welfare during the British Civil Wars organised by Leicester University.

The prestigious event takes place on 7 and 8 August 2015 and will draw delegates from across the world. 

To book yourself a place, just follow the below link. Event entry also includes admission to the National Civil War Centre.


For more information please refer to the following:

Mortality, Care and Military Welfare - A1 Poster (PDF File, 519kb)

Mortality, Care and Military Welfare - A4 Poster (PDF File, 536kb)