Faces of the Great War: Sidcup and the Pioneers of Plastic Surgery

September 17 2016 – March 19 2017

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Thousands of First World War soldiers who came back from France with terrible facial injuries were treated in a new, military hospital in Sidcup, Kent.

This exhibition tells the remarkable story of the pioneers of plastic surgery from the point of view of the medical staff and their patients. Opened in 1917 and named after Queen Mary, a team of doctors, dentists, nurses and technicians were led by a brilliant, New Zealand-born surgeon, Harold Gillies. He recruited leading artists to help rebuild the men’s faces.

Special Events Supporting this Exhibition

October 6
Face to Face with War
Author Louisa Young discusses the origins of facial reconstructive surgery in the First World War, including the contribution of her grandmother, the sculptor Kathleen Scott, along with her latest novel, Devotion.
Louisa Young’s novels My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, The Heroes’ Welcome and Devotion will be available to buy at this event.
2.30pm, £12 per person. See below for ticketing information.

The_Battle_of_the_Somme_film_image1November 9
We have joined with the Imperial War Museum to show historic film, The Battle of the Somme, made in 1916.
2.30pm, free admission with a ticket to the historic house. Advanced booking essential.

February 1
Twitter Exhibition Tour
Tune in via Twitter for a virtual guided tour of this exhibition and a Q&A session.
Starting at 8pm @BexleyHeritage #FacesOfTheGreatWar

March 6
Saving Faces Art Project
Professor Iain Hutchison will talk about the art project he established in the 1990s to illustrate advances in facial reconstructive surgery since Harold Gillies’ pioneering work on First World War soldiers in the 1900s. Hear how artist Mark Gilbert painted patients throughout their treatment and the impact this had on them and hospital staff.
2.30pm £12 per person. See below for ticketing information.


Exhibition Ticket information:

  • All tickets should be purchased in advance
  • To book tickets call the Bexley Heritage Trust booking line on 01322 621238 (lines are open every day from 10am – 4.30pm)
  • Bexley Heritage Trust does not offer refunds on ticket sales
  • If you need special assistance please let us know when booking
  • Children must be accompanied at all times