This exhibition marks the centenary of the outbreak of Spanish flu, a pandemic that killed more people than the First World War.
In 1918, as the Frist World War approached its end, nothing could have prepared the world’s population for an even more deadly event that was about to engulf them – the devastating Spanish Flu.
Infecting up to half of the world’s population, the death toll from this lethal pandemic far outstripped that of the war, with victims suffering from often terrifying and gruesome symptoms. One of the worst was heliotrope cyanosis, with which patients turned blue and eventually drowned in their own body fluids.
No one was immune to this terrible infection, from Walt Disney to Lloyd George. This exhibition explores how the pandemic spread across the globe, its strange and often dangerous ‘treatments’, and examines how nurses – inspired by the work of Florence Nightingale – were the only thing that helped; it was typically women who bore the brunt of trying to halt this deadly disease.