Suffolk general Hospital. From the Spanton Jarman collection
Suffolk general Hospital. From the Spanton Jarman collection
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Pictured here is an operating theatre at the Suffolk General Hospital ‘with patient and medical staff’.

The name of the surgeon is recorded as Dr H M Bird and the anaesthetist, Dr E J Cockram. At this hospital, one of the earliest uses of anaesthesia in an operation was made by Dr John Kilner in 1847.

-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations. They can be viewed at where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit