A UK-first visitor attraction delving into the nation’s gory history of medicine and pandemics is under construction at St Michael’s Church in Chester city centre and will open later this year.

Sick to Death will plunge visitors into an immersive experience exploring weird and wonderful medicines through the ages, with the attraction using scientific facts – as well as screams and laughs – to educate and entertain people of all ages.

“Never have people been so keen to learn and understand more about medicine both in the present day and the past” said Dean Paton, Managing Director of Big Heritage.

“But, by the same token, we live in a world where bad science and misinformation can spread around the world quicker than any virus could.

Wirral Globe: The Plague doctor returns to ChesterThe Plague doctor returns to Chester

"Sick to Death tells the story of medicine throughout the past, but also helps people to understand the science of the present and future.”

The new Sick to Death attraction is funded by the Wellcome Trust, a foundation campaigning for better education and engagement in science and health research. The attraction is said to have had a very successful pop-up launch in 2016, and this new centre builds upon that success.

A raft of new features, immersive experiences and strange objects are currently being installed on the site.

Visitors will be welcomed into a Harry Potter-style apothecary shop, inspired by the cluttered shops of Diagon Alley in the books, which will feature a host of weird and wonderful knick-knacks, but all grounded in the history of medicine.

From there, visitors will go on a journey exploring how medicine and attitudes towards sickness have changed over the years, always overlooked by a huge figure of Death himself.

Wirral Globe:

Other activities include an autopsy room, an interactive surgery room and a time-travelling toilet known as the “TURDIS”.

A ‘Bad Medicine Wall of Shame’ will also highlight the strange and often harmful ‘cures’ that people have sold through the years, ranging from Victorian electric-shock machines for women who were deemed to be ‘hysterical’ through to celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s entire GOOP! website and Donald Trump’s bleach drinking advice.

The spectral figure of Chester’s infamous Plague Doctor, which Big Heritage brought to haunt Chester’s streets as part of a publicity stunt to launch the earlier site will also be back, wearing his iconic 17th century-style PPE.

“We’re constructing these areas now but expect more wild and wonderful experiences to follow and we’ll announce these over the coming months,” added Dean.

“Given the current climate, there’s never been a better time for all of us to discover the real facts about the history of medicine, and that includes unearthing information about previous pandemics that have plighted our past.”

“This exhibition was in the pipeline long before the COVID-19 outbreak, so whilst it’s a shame that we have had to delay the launch, it means that our visitors will have lived through one of the world’s great pandemics – now more than ever will people be able to empathise with their ancestors who also lived through such uncertain times.”

Sick to Death is set to open its doors to visitors in late summer 2020, subject to government announcements regarding COVID-19.

For more information, or to subscribe to updates, please visit: https://sicktodeath.org/ or follow Sick to Death on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.