“London’s Plagues”

A walk retracing a city’s history of contagious disease.

Lord have mercy on London

Career down the lanes and alleyways of the capital city of contagion with us. Discover plague pits and mass graves, cutting edge research institutes and Edwardian hospitals for ‘tropical diseases’. Unearth the evidence of epidemics past and present.

Cholera poster westminster

Then pause to ask the crucial questions:

What is a plague?

Who decides what makes a disease a disaster?

Is a plague as much a social phenomenon as a medical emergency? 

Explore how afflictions from idleness to AIDS, crime to Covid-19, alcoholism to ignorance, tuberculosis to too many people have struggled under the weight of the deathly word ‘plague’ at some point in time.

Keith Haring Stop Aids

Examine how the medical professions have sought to contain, control, treat and cure outbreaks of all sorts.

Reflect on how the press and politicians, police and powers-that-be have sought to stir up or staunch the public and moral panic that sometimes accompanies contagion.

Ask whether – even after the most recent pandemic – we are any more prepared today for a potential next ‘Great Plague’?

A social and medical history of disease and how it has disfigured this great city and its citizens.

To arrange a private group tour at any time contact us by email at discovermedicallondon@gmail.com 

For public tour dates (when available) click here to visit the Our Calendar page.

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.


* 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 or British Museum 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 Plagues” 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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