These were employed by the surgeons to carry their box of instruments. During their time with the surgeon they became proficient in anticipating the surgeon's requirements. At St. Bartholomew's hospital they were attendant upon the three principal surgeons. At first they seem to have been recruited from among the patients and were paid 3d for every patient who was ordered to be 'bleeded'. The practice was discontinued in 1813 and the box carriers were appointed by the surgeons. There was a custom of 'following the box' where the surgeons had a box of instruments carried before them as they went around the wards and performed small operations then and there. The Beadles also followed the surgeon, carrying the brazier in which cautery irons were kept. The box carriers at Bart's survived into the 20th century as surgeon's attendants or theatre orderlies, disappearing from the records in about the 1920s.
Fred Wheedon B.E.M, who was Membership Secretary for the AODP until just before his death in 1989, was first appointed by a surgeon as 'Box Boy' at the Lambeth Hospital sometime during the late 1930s, although soon afterwards he was employed by the hospital, converting to the role of theatre attendant. Fred was elected to the Executive Council of the Association in the late 1940s, a position he held continuously until just before his death. In about 1976, Fred was assimilated to the ODA grade and was a local examiner for the City & Guilds well into the 1980s.