Search records

Leech jar from Brearey's pharmacy in Douglas

Date made: 19th century

Description: This jar once contained leeches, used for medical purposes by William Brearey the Douglas chemist. It was found in the 1960s in his old shop, which was located on the Quay by the harbour.

The jar is straight-sided, of cream coloured earthenware, with a lid.

The European medical leech (Hirudo medicinalis) has been used for blood letting for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks used it, and in the middle ages it was often thought that illness was caused by an imbalance of humours which blood letting could address. Many an ill patient was actually finished off by a physician removing quantities of blood thus weakening him further. Leeches had almost died out in medical use by the 19th century, but have actually made a comeback in some forms of modern micro surgery.


Measurements: 30 x 22 x 22 cm

Materials: ceramic

Object name: jar

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 1967-0246


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy