HALF PRICE SALE Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Max Clifford comes face-to-face with Winston Churchill's dentures

17:20 09 January 2012

Max Clifford comes face-to-face with Winston Churchill's dentures

Max Clifford comes face-to-face with Winston Churchill's dentures

I never imagined, when I was asked to speak at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, what myriad of delights awaited me...

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine December 2011


Elmbridge resident Max Clifford's monthly Surrey Life columngives us an insight into his busy life in the county and beyond...


SUBSCRIBE to Surrey Life magazine
BUY SL online


I never imagined, when I was asked to speak at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, what myriad of delights awaited me including coming face-to-face with Winston Churchills dentures.


I was there to give a talk at the presidents dinner for the Prostate Cancer Charity of which I am an ambassador and during my visit I was lucky enough to have a tour of the Hunterian Museum, which houses tens of thousands of weird and wonderful human and animal specimens. The shelves are full of fascinating artefacts, some of which may be considered controversial.


Whilst on our tour, among the exhibits we saw were the cranium and teeth of a megatherium, or extinct giant sloth. This specimen was presented to the college by Charles Darwin back in 1837. He collected the fossil during the voyage to South America. Megatherium weighed as much as elephants and became extinct about 10,000 years ago.


Just a few feet away from that was half of Charles Babbages brain. He was an eminent mathematician and computer pioneer who designed complex mechanical calculating machines. The other half is kept at the Science Museum. Babbages brain was preserved by Sir James Paget at Babbages own request. He gave his permission to use it in any way necessary to the advancement of human knowledge.


During the late 19th century, this specimen was included in research studying the brains of the eminent men. Sadly, the curators attempts to prove a link between brain anatomy and genius were not successful.


The museum also houses Sir Winston Churchills dentures; these have a gold base, platinum clasps and mineral teeth. Normally made to fit as closely as possible to the palate, Churchills dentures were different. To compensate for his natural lisp, his were designed to leave a gap between the palate and the roof of his mouth, thereby enabling him to maintain his distinctive speaking style.


A painted silver prosthetic nose from the mid-19th century can also be seen. This false nose was worn by a woman who had lost her own as a result of syphilis. She later presented it to her physician, stating that she had remarried and that her new husband preferred her without it.


We also saw the cast of the cranial cavity of Jonathan Swift. Swift was an author and Dean of St Patricks Cathedral. He is best known for his satirical book Gullivers Travels. Such casts of the inside of skulls were used to calculate the volume of the brain. This cast was made by Edward Perceval Wright in 1864.


The museum curator, Sarah Pearson, explained: The purpose is not to sensationalise these remains but celebrate the history and development of medical science, mistakes and all.


If you do visit the Royal College of Surgeons, which I recommend, be warned: it is not for the faint-hearted. With displays of primitive surgical instruments, animal and human remains, tumours, reconstruction work, misshapen skeletons and all, you may need a strong stomach.





(All photos The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London)


0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from People

Stu Henshall (Photo: Mark Bourdillon)

Having toured the world as lead singer and bassist of rock band, Subsource, Stu Henshall is now hitting the limelight on a very different stage. The 35-year-old, who lives in Guildford with his wife and two children, will take on all-comers in the hit BBC TV show, The Great British Bake Off

Read more
South Godstones Pilgrim Harps

In the second of our new series celebrating our county’s craftspeople, we meet the good folk of South Godstone’s Pilgrim Harps – and 
take a peek inside the workshop where the magic happens...

Read more
A legend in his own lifetime, Sir David Attenborough pictured just before his lecture at Kingston's Rose Theatre (Photo Andy Newbold)

It may be his 90th birthday next year but Sir David Attenborough is as busy as ever, working not only on a new BBC TV series about the Great Barrier Reef but also on a groundbreaking documentary about dinosaurs. Closer to home, the Richmond resident continues to give his annual lecture in our county – where Surrey Life editor Caroline Harrap met up with him for an exclusive interview

Read more
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Celebrities share their favourite local places in Surrey Life

Over the years, some of Surrey’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about our county to Surrey Life. Here, we compile their favourite restaurants, shops, views, places to visit and relax, and ask what makes you proud of living in Surrey?

Read more
Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Sunday 19 July, The New Victoria Hospital took part in the Kingston Rotary Club Dragon Boat Challenge to raise funds for The Victoria Foundation.

Read more
Thursday, July 23, 2015

As one of the UK’s leading care home providers, Maria Mallaband Care Group believe that growing old is more exciting than ever and are pleased to introduce their beautiful new home ‘Kingsbury Court’ which is now open for residents.

Read more
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In the first of a new series, where we will meet some of Surrey’s top business people, this month we catch up with mother-of-three Chantal Baker, who runs her own accountancy and tax advisory consultancy in Caterham.

Read more
Monday, July 13, 2015
Donal MacIntyre has appeared on countless TV programmes

He's risked his life to expose everything from pension scams and dodgy funeral parlours to dangerous drug dealers - but the real Donal MacIntyre is a gentle soul who likes nothing better than a stroll in the Surrey countryside. Alan Tovey met up with him to find out more about his life in our county and beyond

Read more
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Nell Gwynn's History Laid Bare (Photo Michael Wharley)

From naked comedians to adult pantos, Guildford Fringe has shocked and thrilled our county town in equal measure in recent years. Here, Matthew Williams meets the festival’s founder Nick Wyschna to discuss what decadent delights you can expect this year – and why the festival may even be coming to a town near you...

Read more
Hard at work with Silent Pool Distillers

In the first of a new monthly series going behind the scenes with Surrey’s makers and producers, we meet the Silent Pool Distillers at their Albury ‘laboratory’

Read more

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP


subscription ad

subscription ad

Surrey's trusted business finder