The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, London

4.5
Take a trip to a time before anesthetics and antiseptic surgery at The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, home to the oldest remaining operating theater in the UK. Before the construction of the operating theater in 1822, an apothecary probably used the attic space of St. Thomas' Church (part of St. Thomas' Hospital) to store medicinal plants; records refer to it as the "herb garret" and dried opium poppy heads were discovered in the rafters. Take a tour of the restored theater, complete with a gallery of seats where students would observe the operations, and examine a recreation of the apothecary's store. Various displays exhibit antique medical instruments, detailing the grim realities of past surgical practices. Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret by using our London trip maker site .
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The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret Reviews
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602 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • If you're even mildly interested in the history of medicine this small museum is worth the visit. But beware the only way to visit is up a very narrow spiral staircase. We happened to visit when a lar...  more »
  • Old operating theatre set off a hospital and used for surgeries on women. The room, the medical devices used in surgeries. All worth the visit!!!  more »
  • Visited this quirky museum with my grandson as part of his project at school- really fascinating and kept our interest. A talk and fake display of surgery was going on at the time of our visit which j...  more »
Google
  • Great hidden gem of London. One of the lesser visited museums. Worth the entry fee, even though it is small. We were lucky to sit in on a lecture for medical students which was fascinating and the lady who gave the talk was great. Would recommend trying to go when there are talks on. There is a strong smell of herbs in the apothecary part, so just be warned.
  • Very interesting place to visit, lots to see inside there with plenty of information and specimens. You need to climb a narrow spiral staircase to get in so be aware of that. Friendly staff and it's generally not too busy, definitely worth a visit.
  • A hidden gem, but not for anyone who isn't find for spiral staircases! I'm not going to spoil much, but it is literally hidden from you. Ask about and you may find it (If you don't, it's a tiny spiral staircase in the left of the entrance to the building). The exhibits are fantastic (I never thought I'd say that about an infected colon!) and give a great insight into surgical history. Great if paired with the Hunterian Museum (it reopens in 2019). Oh yes, and not for the squeamish, but that might be obvious.
  • Would rate five if I could have found the turtle. Some rather ghoulish insights into medical practices of the past that make you thankful for modern medicine. Not free, but worth the entry to keep this little piece of history alive. Has a restored medical theatre where you can relive what it must have been like to witness the earliest medical science, including amputations without anaesthesia.
  • While I personally found this very interesting, it is just a few small rooms. Not at all wheelchair friendly, as you have to climb a spiral staircase to get in, but if you are able to get in then it's a neat little time capsule, and really shows just how far we have come in medicine. Some of the information about the surgeries was positively hair raising! I would recommend for anyone with an interested in history or medicine.
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