St Bartholomew's Hospital museum

St Bartholomew's Hospital museum

This year, St Bartholomew's Hospital celebrates the 900th anniversary of its foundation in 1123. The hospital museum tells the story of nine centuries of healthcare at the edge of the City of London.

The permanent exhibition of original and facsimile archives, objects and works of art, includes Rahere’s grant of 1137 - the oldest document in the hospital archives - and the 1546 agreement between Henry VIII and the City of London which refounded the hospital. The objects on display in the museums are only a small part of the collections - to find out more, search our catalogue online

The museum is located in the hospital’s historic North Wing, adjoining the Grand Staircase with its vast and spectacular paintings by William Hogarth. The paintings can be viewed from the museum during opening hours. (For security reasons, access to the staircase itself and the Great Hall is restricted, unless on an accompanied tour - please see below. Please contact Barts Heritage regarding any special requests for access).

We work closely with Barts Heritage, the charity leading the programme to restore the North Wing and open it up for year-round public use. For more information about their Sharing Historic Barts programme, please see the Barts Heritage website. Works to the North Wing as part of the Restoring Historic Barts project will commence later this year, and for the safety and security of visitors and collections, St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum will be closing to the public on Friday 1 September for the duration of the works, which are planned to take place throughout 2024.

For more information about the Barts900 campaign and activities planned for the 900th anniversary of the hospital in 2023, including our outdoor exhibition 'Life and Death in the Archives, 1123-2023', which can be seen around the City during summer 2023, please see the Barts900 website.

Opening hours

Museum opening hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10am - 4pm. You do not need to book or make an appointment to visit. Please note that works to the North Wing as part of the Restoring Historic Barts project will commence later this year, and for the safety and security of visitors and collections, St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum will be closing to the public on Friday 1 September for the duration of the works, which are planned to take place throughout 2024.

We are a small museum dependent on volunteers, so please note that opening hours may occasionally be subject to change at short notice due to staff or volunteer absence. Please check our Twitter account  for up-to-date information on openings or call us on the day if you are making a special journey. You can also email us with any queries regarding the museum.

Planning your visit

Please be mindful that St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum is on a hospital site. Although there is no requirement to wear a face covering or practice social distancing in the museum, which is a non-clinical space, please respect the personal choices of others who may wish to continue practicing these measures, and observe the appropriate guidance on other areas of the site.

For more information on what to expect when you visit, please download our Plan your visit [pdf]  information sheet before your visit. For details of our access arrangements, please see our Access statement [pdf]

Postcards and publications for sale

The small museum shop sells a range of books, prints and postcards -  please see our Publications for sale list 2022-23 [pdf] for details. To order any of these items, please email us

Support for St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum

As we approach the 900th anniversary of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in 2023 there has never been a more important time to support the historic collections of the hospital. Please consider making a donation when you visit or click here to donate.

Tours of historic St Bartholomew's Hospital

City of London Guides lead regular tours of the oldest remaining parts of the hospital, with proceeds going towards the Sharing Historic Barts programme led by Barts Heritage to restore the historic buildings of St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

The tour provides an opportunity to compare and admire both 18th and 21st century hospital architecture and the hospital’s own Church, and view the splendours of the Grade I-listed North Wing, with its huge paintings, by locally born artist William Hogarth, on the Grand Staircase. Tours are run by the City Guides group, official guides to the City of London, and cost £12 per person or £10 concessions, plus booking fee - book online here.

The Great Hall will be closing to the public in July in preparation for the Barts Heritage restoration works; the tours will cease for the duration of the works. The last tour will therefore take place on Friday 7 July.

Downloadable KS2 learning resources 

Our KS2 learning resources, based on the history of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and some of the fascinating items from our collections, are FREE to download. The resource pack is designed to introduce children to the story of the hospital’s nine century history of healthcare – it is not necessary to visit the museum to use it. The pack supports cross-curricular learning, linking to English, Maths, Science and PSHE as well as History. 

The resources consist of a Discovery sheet, highlighting facts and themes from the hospital’s story, and three Activity sheets. There is also an answer sheet providing sample answers to the Activity questions. The resources can be used in the classroom or for home-based learning. We would like to thank the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for their generous support for the development of the resource pack.

Please use the links below to download the pack:

Nine centuries of healthcare - Discovery Sheet 1MB

Nine centuries of healthcare - Activity Sheet 1 648KB

Nine centuries of healthcare - Activity Sheet 2 743KB

Nine centuries of healthcare - Activity Sheet 3 1MB

Nine centuries of healthcare - Answer Sheet 103KB

Historic Smithfield and Farringdon

The Norman priory church founded by Rahere, now known as St Bartholomew the Great, is only a few minutes walk from the museum, and the hospital church, St Bartholomew the Less, neighbours the North Wing on the hospital site. Both beautiful churches are open to visitors and worshippers under social distancing guidelines.

St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum is one stop on the Historic Farringdon walk, part of the Epic England GPS guided walk series on the Geotourist app. While the museum is closed, enjoy the walk to find out more about our historic neighbourhood, including the Barbican, Smithfield Market, and the Charterhouse, as well as the hospital itself.

Please note, St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum does not hold specimens. Barts Pathology Museum, also on the hospital site, is part of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and is not normally open to the public.

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