Anniversary exhibition to go on tour | News from St Bartholomew's

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Anniversary exhibition to go on tour

Barts900 outdoor exhibition from the Barts Health Archives service

A free outdoor exhibition featuring previously untold stories from across nine centuries of St Bartholomew’s Hospital is to begin a tour of the capital this month.

The exhibition, curated by our Barts Health Archives service to mark the 900th anniversary of Britain’s oldest hospital, will go on display in Guildhall Yard in the City of London from 10 May.

It will move to Aldgate Square from 7 June before completing its tour in the iconic square at St Bartholomew’s between 6 July and 1 August.

The exhibition draws on more than 15,000 unique items that make up St Bartholomew’s Hospital’s historic collection, including ancient account books, medieval marginalia, records, maps, art, diaries and photographs which reveal the individuals who worked, lived and died at Barts.

Research from exhibition curator Emma Shepley shines a new light on historical figures such as Barbara Adams, barber to the hospital’s patients in the 1750s, as well as the stories of patients treated at Barts following the Gordon Riots in 1780.

Lead archivist for Barts Health Kate Jarman said: “Our archives reveal an unbroken history from the founding of St Bartholomew’s in 1123 to present day. From the famous to the forgotten, London lives fly from the pages of Barts’ ancient ledgers, with stories of crisis and caring, miracle and mayhem, living and loss, agony and healing.

“This exhibition is not to be missed.”

A smaller version of the exhibition will available on the ground floor of the hospital’s King George V (KGV) wing close to the main reception throughout the summer, thanks to funding from our Voluntary Hospital Board.

On 10 May a service is taking place at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark the hospital’s 900th birthday. The service coincides with View Day – an annual event dating back more than 500 years in which the hospital opens its doors to members of the public to hear about the work of the hospital and inspect its services.

The origins of presenting the hospital to the community date back to the Easter ‘Spital services’, which took place in the Middle Ages. Patients were walked through the streets of London to encourage Londoners to donate to the cities hospitals.

The tradition of ‘viewing’, or inspecting the hospital properties, dates back to the re-foundation of St Bartholomew’s Hospital by King Henry VIII. The hospital’s medieval buildings were in a state of disrepair and an annual inspection was put in place by the new board of governors.

The View Day service from St Paul’s Cathedral will be broadcast live on the Barts Charity YouTube channel from 5pm on Wednesday 10 May.

There will also be activities for hospital staff, patients and volunteers on View Day from midday.

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Add a response »
  1. Brigitte Whatley Monday, 23 October 2023 at 07:38 PM

    Coincidence brought me to Barth where I saw the fascinating exhibits commemorating it’s history of 900 years.
    I saw the beautiful and fascinating drawing of the twisted bowel the day before my husband had to undergo the operation. I took a fotograph which I unfortunately deleted by mistake. Is there any way I could obtain a copy?
    I would be most grateful.
    With kind regards
    Brigitte Whatley

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