Courtesy of the Science Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA
Courtesy of the Science Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA

The Costume of Yorkshire, Leech finders

Comments? Do please tell us: [email protected]

From the Collection


Print, coloured aquatint from The Costume of Yorkshire / George Walker, 1814. engraved by R. Havell after G. Walker, pub. April 1, 1814 by Robinson & Son, Leeds, Pl. 35 Leech finders [women collecting leeches] mounted: 35x43.5cm

Leeches, a type of worm with suckers at both ends of the body, were used in bloodletting. It was the job of the leech finders, usually women, to collect these creatures for medical use. The leeches attached themselves to the legs and feet of the women who plucked them off and stored them in the little barrels of water. Doctors grew rich at the expense of these low paid women. Leeches were such a popular treatment that by 1830 demand outstripped supply all over Europe. Today, leeches are used following plastic and reconstructive surgery as they help restore blood flow and circulation. The print appeared in Costume of Yorkshire, published by George Walker in 1814.

Additional Makers: George Walker (artist); Engraved by Robert Havell

More details about this record can be found on the collection website

Image Licence

Image Credit

Courtesy of the Science Museum

From the Watercolour World


Leeds, England