View of the Undercliffe Cemetery Promenade

Thomas Beaumont, Surgeon

Thomas Beaumont, Surgeon

Map Number







A 729

Thomas Beaumont



1795 - 1859

Surgeons in the Victorian era

Did you know…?

  • One Victorian surgeon could amputate a leg in 30 seconds...but there was no anaesthetic for patients until the 1840s.
  • In 1846 ether was introduced to put patients ‘to sleep’ while the operation was performed. In the following year James Simpson used chloroform for the first time with even better results for patients.
  • Many patients died following amputations and similar operations, not due to the operation itself, but because of the dirty conditions in hospitals which led to frequent fatal infection of wounds. As many as one in four patients died after operations such as amputations in some hospitals.
  • In 1865 Joseph Lister’s discovery of antiseptic prevented infection of the wound following surgery and led to a much higher survival rate from operations.

  • Further Reading
    Adapted from Richard Hollingham’s Blood and Guts: a history of surgery. London: BBC Books

    The Thackray Museum, Leeds is devoted to the history of medicine and has fascinating interactive exhibits for all ages. More information from


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