London’s Amazing Medical Museums

Uncover the extraordinary collections assembled by medical individuals and institutions.

Grant Museum of Zoology Skeletons

Clinical types cure. That is their calling. 

But many also collect, and have done so throughout history. From Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum, to Henry Wellcome, the pharmacist whose eponymous library and collection grew to become one of the most esoteric and vast assemblages in the world.

Artifical teeth

The reasons for this hoarding tendency amongst the healing professions are complex and sometimes contradictory.

In religious societies, collecting has often been a way of humbly illustrating the vastness of god’s creation, whilst at once not quite so modestly making a statement about the wealth, intellect and taste of the collector.

Since the Enlightenment, collections have sought to serve as physical encyclopaedias, enriching the visitor’s view of the world at large, or the sphere of epidemiology, dental practice or comparative anatomy, according to the compendium’s theme.

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London, so full of learned and professional societies from all branches of medicine and science, and individuals with a zeal to amass personal treasure troves of artefacts is a paradise of these ‘cabinets of curiosity’.

Join us as we take a tour of the Capital’s medical and academic quarter to discover beguiling but lesser known miscellanies and now long gone collections of note.

Encounter lost libraries, anthologies of anaesthesia, arrays of dentistry, apothecaries jars, secret gardens, old dissecting rooms and the anatomy laboratory where Charles Darwin was taught. 

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The walk commences in the medicinal garden of Royal College of Physicians and lasts between 2½ and 3 hours*.

The tour costs £12.50-£15** per person.

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* Tours do not include a visit to the interior of the Royal College of Physicians.

** This walk includes the option of an escorted visit to the Wellcome Collection for £2.50 extra per person. Please ask about a museum visit when making your booking. Private tours are subject to a minimum group fee for parties of 14 persons or fewer.

“London’s Amazing Medical Museums” is available as a private tour at any time by prior arrangement. 

For further details or to make a group booking for a private tour please contact us at  discovermedicallondon@gmail.com

Click here for a map and directions to the Royal College of Physicians.

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