A new film produced by the University of Portsmouth promotes the new medical museum at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm, the famous site of the British field hospital at the Battle of Waterloo
When one considers the great advances in surgery that have been achieved on the back of battlefield medicine, it is perhaps surprising that the new museum at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm is the only European medical museum situated on a battlefield in Europe.
The Mont-Saint-Jean farm was the famous “Hôpital des Anglais” during the Battle of Waterloo and it is thought that upwards of 6,000 soldiers were treated there. Partially listed in 1995 after parts of the site fell into disrepair, it is now enjoying a new lease of life as a vibrant visitor centre – with the new medical museum playing an important part.
The atmospheric museum features a permanent exhibition, largely based around the collection of former surgeon and Waterloo 200 stalwart Michael Crumplin. In the film he introduces some of these rare and fascinating items, which include uniforms, artworks and a collection of capital surgical instruments carried by each senior surgeon at the Battle of Waterloo.
Also featured are the famous sketches of the wounded made by Sir Charles Bell. “These are very evocative pictures that give us a somewhat harsh impression of what actually happened,” says Crumplin, “and when we talk about the Battle of Waterloo and the other side of the coin this is the hidden bit that people don’t see.”
The farm is also home to a brewery, distillery, shop, restaurant and event centre – now housed in the converted Great Barn that served as the field hospital and forward operating theatre for the thousands of wounded prior to them being transported to hospitals in Brussels.
Find out more at fermedemontsaintjean.be/en/