This is the Museum's old web site. For the new web site go to:

Objects at the Old Operating Theatre Museum

This page is in course of construction - let us know of any errors

Objects at the Old Operating Theatre Muesum

The museum has a collection of objects illustrating medical history, and the history of St. Thomas's and Guy's Hospitals.

Museum Collection On-Line

The Museum's collection is currently being digitised. Approximately two thirds of the collection is now online.

We have objects relating to:

  • Obstetrics
  • Midwifery
  • Surgical Instruments
  • Cupping and Bleeding
  • Nursing and Patient Care
  • Anaesthesia
  • Antiseptic surgery
  • Apothecaries and Herbal Medicine
  • St. Thomas's, Guy's and the Evelina Children's Hospital.

The Collecting Policy is described below.


The Collection is managed by the Curator, Karen Howell and Assistant Curator Kirsty Chilton , with the help of Museum staff and volunteers.


Objects owned by the Museum have to add to the understanding of the development of medical knowledge with particular emphasis on the history of the Old Operating Theatre, the Herb Garret, and the history of St. Thomas's and Guy's Hospitals. The museum may also, on occasion, acquire objects connected with the history of St. Thomas's Church, its parish, Southwark, and the Evelina Children's Hospital.

The museum will adopt an active, though small-scale, collecting policy and will ensure that it can document, store, display and adequately preserve any objects it has or acquires. The museum will endeavour to coordinate its collecting policy with other institutions such as the Florence Nightingale Museum, the Wellcome Museum at the Science Museum, the Gordon Museum and other medical museums. Where objects are of local history importance it will liaise with the Museum of London and the Cuming Museum in Southwark when appropriate.

The museum will adhere to the Code of Practice for Museum Authorities and the Guidelines for Professional Conduct adopted by the Museums Association. This means the museum will only acquire objects to which it can establish a valid title, and which were ethically collected in accordance with national and international guidelines. There is a presumption against the disposal of objects, and disposal will only take place after consideration by the Trustees, and in line with the Guidelines mentioned above. Staff of the museum will not collect medical objects on their own behalf unless explicitly given permission by the Lord Brock Memorial Trust.

Priority will be given to objects dating to before the closure of the Operating Theatre in 1862. Priority should also be given to objects which can be displayed as storage space is not sufficient to maintain a large reserve collection. The following objects are considered a priority for purchase: