Pair of wooden crutches, England, 1701-1800
It is thought that these crutches were used by someone who whad leprosy and who had also lost the use of their legs. They may have moved around on a low trolley using the crutches to propel themselves forward. Leprosy, a bacterial disease, causes lumps on the skin and attacks the nervous system. In the worst cases it can cause disfigurement to the face, hands and feet, and muscle paralysis. Leprosy is today known as ‘Hansen’s Disease’. Henry Wellcome did his utmost to acquire objects for his collection. He was not always successful. Undeterred, he would seek permission to have copies made of those objects he could not acquire.
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A chronic disease that affects the skin, mucous membrane and nerves. It is now confined mainly to the tropics and is transmitted by direct contact. Previously a widely feared disease, leprosy is not highly infectious.