Daventry woman's historic prosthetic arm featured in new Science Museum exhibition

Elizabeth Burton's arm is being featured in an exhibition at the Science Museum
Elizabeth Burton's arm is being featured in an exhibition at the Science Museum

A woman from Daventry who lost her arm to infection is to be featured in one of the largest medical galleries in the world at the Science Museum in London.

Elizabeth Burton was born in Daventry in the 1860s and lost her arm from an infection after cutting her thumb on a fish bone when she was in her thirties.

She was a widowed mother of six, so she needed to be able to carry on performing day-to-day tasks and make a living as a music and singing teacher, so she commissioned a prosthetic arm made in 1903.

The arm was made by a local surgical-instrument maker and Elizabeth is thought to have played a concert at the Royal Albert Hall while wearing the arm in 1906.

The arm is being featured at the Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries exhibition which will be taking over the first floor of the Science Museum from Saturday, November 16.

Elizabeth's prosthetic arm will be displayed in the Exploring Medicine gallery and will show the history of devices designed to assist disabled people.

The Exploring Medicine gallery is one of five galleries showcasing 3000 medical artefacts from medical collections owned by the Science Museum and Henry Wellcome.

Henry Wellcome was a pharmacist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector who established the Wellcome Trust to continue funding research into health.

The exhibition will also feature the world's first MRI scanner, Fleming's penicillin mould and more modern items like robotic surgical equipment.