Travellers on the Tube were startled by a blast from the past today as a ‘pestilence’ of 17th century plague doctors invaded the London Underground on their way to The London Dungeon, which has recently moved from London Bridge to Waterloo.
Plague doctors wore beak-shaped masks filled with sweet-smelling herbs to treat the sick during the Black Death, as they believed that the plague was transmitted by ‘bad air’. They acted as public servants during epidemics and were often not allowed to mix with the public due to the nature of their job – however, the role did have its perks. They were allowed to perform autopsies on plague victims whenever they wanted in the hope of finding a cure.
Rumour has it that the Bubonic Plague will be unleashed during a special half term event, featuring the beak-nosed doctors who roamed the streets dispensing quack cures in the 1660s.
Outbreak! at The London Dungeon runs from February 17 – 24. Should be good for a laugh if you’ve got nerves of steel, but if you’re not big on buboes, boils, rotting flesh or unsavoury odours, this might be one to avoid…