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Artificial leg, Roehampton, England, 1961

These artificial legs were made for a four year old girl born with a condition called amelia. This is an absence of both lower limbs. The legs are non-articulated which means they do not bend at the knee so walking with these prostheses would have been difficult. At the feet 'rocker' ends have been added. This was to aid walking and compensate for the rigid legs. The prostheses were made in 1961 by Hanger, a company based at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton in west London. Hanger were one of a number of American companies who during the First World War set up workshops at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton, the main centre for limb-fitting in Britain; the existing British limb-making industry was unable to cater for the large number of soldier amputees.

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Glossary: orthopaedics

The branch of medicine concerned with the preservation and restoration of the muscular and skeletal systems in the body.

Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: artificial leg

A device, either external or implanted, that substitutes for or supplements a missing or defective part of the body.