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St Bartholomew's museum

Set in the historic North Wing of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, the museum tells the story of this renowned institution, celebrates its achievements and explains its place in history.

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About the museum

The museum has a permanent exhibition of original and facsimile archives and objects, including facsimile copies of the oldest document in the hospital archives, Rahere’s grant of 1137, and the 1546 agreement between Henry VIII and the City of London which refounded the hospital. Other displays include works of art, and surgical and medical equipment used in the hospital. Two vast and spectacular paintings by William Hogarth are also visible from the museum. Browse all the oil paintings from the hospital’s collections at BBC Your Paintings.

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The museum is located in the hospital’s historic North Wing, and overlooks the famous 18th century square designed by James Gibbs. You can find out more about the hospital’s nine centuries of healthcare on our timeline.

The hospital was once linked to the Priory of St Bartholomew, and the Norman priory church, now known as St Bartholomew the Great, is situated a few minutes walk from the hospital in West Smithfield. The hospital church of St Bartholomew the Less, which with the priory church is part of the united benefice of Great St Bartholomew, is on the hospital site. Both beautiful churches are open to visitors – you can find more information on the Great St Bartholomew's website here.

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Opening times

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4pm (closed over Christmas, New Year, Easter and public holidays).

The museum is staffed by volunteers and our opening hours may be subject to change at short notice. We recommend that you check opening times before planning a special visit to the Museum by telephoning 020 3465 5798/6798.

Group visits

Small groups are welcome, but please telephone 020 3465 5798 to discuss requirements, as space is limited. We usually suggest a maximum group size of 25, or for larger groups to split their visit.

Information for teachers

The museum can host school groups on request. Visits will include a short discussion of the role of the museum and archives, with an activity sheet (roughly KS2/3 level), available on request. Please note that the museum does not display any human tissue.

Unfortunately, we do not currently have a designated space for visiting groups to have their lunch in. We therefore request that you plan your visit such that pupils do not need to eat while they are here. Note that food and drink are not permitted in the museum. There are refreshment facilities within the hospital that cater for members of the public. Please ask on enquiry for details.

Toilets are located outside of the museum in the Outpatients Department or catering block of the hospital.

Groups will be accompanied by at least one member of the museum staff. Please note:

  • visitors under 16 should be accompanied by one responsible adult for every fifteen children.
  • accompanying adults are responsible at all times for the behaviour of the minors they accompany.
  • those who disrupt the visit for others or whose behaviour puts themselves or others at risk will be asked to leave.
  • visitors may be asked to leave at any time at the discretion of museum staff.

Admission

Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

If you would like to make a donation to the St Bartholomew’s Hospital Archives Fund please either email appeals@bartshealth.nhs.uk or call 020 7618 1720

Disabled access

Wheelchair access by arrangement. Induction loop; texts of audio displays available on request. Please download our access statement here.

Museum shop

The Museum shop sells a range of postcards and publications. Find a list of publications available here.

Find us

To find the museum, enter the hospital through the Henry VIII gate on Giltspur Street. The museum entrance is about 30 metres to your left under the North Wing archway.

Find out how to get to the museum by downloading our map here.

Contact us

Archivist: Kate Jarman
Tel: 020 3465 5798
Email: barts.archives@bartshealth.nhs.uk

For more information about our museums, download our information leaflet here.

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