Battle-scarred: Civil War Exhibition

National Civil War Centre in Newark, from March to September 2016

Battle-scarred exhibition brochure
Image courtesy of Maureen Harris

‘Battle-scarred’ is a temporary exhibition at the National Civil War Centre in Newark, running from March to September, 2016. The Centre opened in the Museum of the historic town of Newark in 2015, with a permanent, inter-active display. This explores the events in the royalist stronghold as it withstood three attacks by parliamentarian forces, resulting in disease, hunger and death for the garrison and civilian population.

Surgery, Medicine and Military Welfare during the British Civil Wars

The new exhibition, sub-titled ‘Surgery, Medicine and Military Welfare during the British Civil Wars’ aims to overturn some popular misconceptions about events between 1642 and 1651.  For example, there were more deaths from combat and disease than in the First World War (in proportion to the population) and the impact was arguably greater than that of the Second World War in terms of injury and trauma. The British Civil Wars saw for the first time concern for the welfare of sick and injured soldiers and their families. There is also a misconception that  medicine at the time was primitive, but the exhibition shows surgeons and physicians skilled at dealing with injury and disease, using instruments common today and treating patients in state hospitals and a network of temporary treatment centres in inns and private houses.

Warwickshire’s involvement

Since Warwickshire was centrally involved in the conflict, there are exhibits featuring the death and embalming of Robert, 2nd Lord Brooke of Warwick Castle and James Cooke, surgeon and physician to the garrison hospital there, plus a portrait of injured men (one blind, the other an amputee) from Alcester church.