St Bartholomew's Hospital museum

St Bartholomew's Hospital museum

St Bartholomew's Hospital is approaching 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. 

We work closely with Barts Heritage, the charity leading the project 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. For more information about the Barts900 campaign and activities planned for the 900th anniversary of the hospital in 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.

The museum will be closed for two weeks over the Easter period, from Tuesday 12 April - Monday 25 April 2022 inclusive, reopening on Tuesday 26 April.

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.

Covid-19 safety measures, and planning your visit

The museum is located on a working hospital site, and for the safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff, we have a number of additional measures in place during the current pandemic:

  • To ensure social distancing, visitors are advised to follow the one-way route around the museum. There are no restrictions on how long you can stay in the Museum.
  • In line with Barts Health NHS Trust guidance, visitors are required to wear a face covering in the museum, unless exempt under the UK government guidance.
  • If you are feeling unwell, please do not visit, and follow NHS guidance.
  • Windows and doors will be opened where possible to ensure good ventilation of the museum space.

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

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 museum. Please consider making a donation when you visit or  click here to donate.

Downloadable KS2 learning resources 

Our new 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 is aimed at KS2 children, and 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

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.

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.

Publications for sale

While the museum is closed, you can still order items from our small shop, which sells a range of books, prints and postcards -  please see our publications for sale list for details [pdf]. To order any of these items, please email us

Useful websites