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Allen & Hanburys’ Surgical Appliances

January 17, 2019
by the gentle author

If any readers are feeling under the weather and in need of a tonic in these grim January days, look no further than Allen & Hanburys’ 1938 catalogue of Surgical Instruments & Appliances (courtesy of Rupert Blanchard of Styling & Salvage). Founded in 1715 in Plough Court, Lombard St by Silvanus Bevan, Allen & Hanburys moved to Bethnal Green in 1874 where they built a factory to manufacture surgical appliances and operating tables – producing an unparalleled array of medical equipment, until they were bought by Glaxo in 1958 and closed in the nineteen sixties. Today the factory still stands, incorporated into a new housing development.

Instrument Fitting

Machine Shop & Operation Table Erection

Tinsmiths’ Shop

Sheet Metal & Furniture Shops

Machine Shop

Location of Allen & Hanburys factory in Bethnal Green

You may also like to take a look at these other magnificent catalogues

Crowden & Keeves Hardware

Nicholls & Clarke’s Hardware

11 Responses leave one →
  1. January 17, 2019

    I’m not sure if everyone will agree with your idea of “a tonic for a grim January”, but I loved the catalogue. Some insrtuments gave me shivers, others surprised me and altogether, it was a good way to start a foggy January day here in Madrid.

  2. John Venes permalink
    January 17, 2019

    Grim stuff!
    I grew up in the small, 3 block council estate in Pott street, backing onto the factory. We played football and
    used their wall as a goal. We never knew exactly what they did in there. I don’t suppose the residents there do either!

  3. Ron Bunting permalink
    January 17, 2019

    Ok #8690 came with a padlock too….. but 8686 might be as useful addition to the toy box. ha ha

  4. Mary permalink
    January 17, 2019

    Having been an NHS clinician I am of an age where I can remember some of those appliances!

  5. John Finn permalink
    January 17, 2019

    Fascinating and gruesome in equal measure!
    But I remember Allen and Hanbury for their tins of blackcurrant throat pastilles. The empty tins were often to be found in the houses of my parents and their families as containers for pins, buttons, coins and I’m pretty sure if I searched I could find one here somewhere.

  6. Mark P permalink
    January 17, 2019

    Yikes!! I think I feel much better now, and will stop complaining about the state of medical care in our time.

  7. January 17, 2019

    I usually love tools. I dont know why but these tools scare me . I am taking to my workshop to recover

  8. January 17, 2019

    John Venes if you are the John Venes that went to Parmiters there is a photo of you on their FB page standing next to me which I posted a while ago.!

  9. sprite permalink
    January 18, 2019

    blimey! this is the stuff nightmares are made of…. and yet, some have not changed that much, more plasticky perhaps and more aerodynamic shapes, but still recognizable as kins of those here

  10. January 18, 2019

    John Venes
    It suddenly came to me overnight it may have been Bill Venes at Parmiters. Its a long time ago so my apologies for my patchy memory.

  11. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 18, 2019

    My Mum is using her Allen & Hanburys throat pastille tin as her pins and needles container a I write (she thinks it is probably about 80 years old!)

    I particularly liked the reference to the corset for the ‘discerning’ patient – what were the others supposed to wear?

    And what was the meaning of “Camp” in those days??

    One wonders what the gastrostomy plug was for…and how big was it???

    And what about the bowel scissors and blow pipe in the post mortem instruments?! The mind boggles…

    Thanks for sharing – tee! hee!

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