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

The Operating Theatre of the United Borough Hospitals of Guys & St Thomas

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

On 27 October 1962 'the Operating Theatre of Old St Thomas's Hospital' was officially opened. An information pamphlet was made available which concentrated on the Operating Theatre.

The following gives an idea of the Museum before it was redesigned in 1992.

Information panel in the Cartwheel window in the Belfry Shop

The visitors were welcomed in the first floor chamber in the Tower.

Originally, visits were by arrangement by application to the Very Rev. The Provost, Southwark Diocesan Office. At this time St. Thomas's Church was the Chapter House of the Diocese.

Arrangements for visits were then transferred to the Curator. The first Curator on record is J. R Scott (see photo). By 1983, Mrs J.M.Miller had taken over. The administration was under the jurisdiction of the Special Trustees of Guy's Hospital, supported by the Special Trustees of St Thomas's Hospital.

By 1983 official opening times were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 12.30pm - 4pm and at other times by arrangement .Admission charges were 40p for adults, and 20p for students and school children. Groups were charges at 20p per head, and 15p for children.


Curator J R Scott.

Very few pictures exist of the Herb Garret at this time, but this postcard was produced. The Garret contained surgical and obstetric instruments, human specimens, miscellaneous items from the hospitals, such as beer mugs, a nurses chatelaine; carboys and bell mortars and other items from the apothecary,



The displays were mainly on boards that blocked off the view through the timbers of the Garret. It was the traditional book on the wall type of display, and divided the space up into a set of bays.

The panels and labels were in a variety of styles - some were hand written but mostly typed.

The Operating Theatre was the star of the Museum and was kept clear of interpretation as much as possible.  

The guide book was reprinted with a new, rather gruesome, cover, but the information remained much as the first pamphlet.

The name of the Theatre seems to have been briefly changed to 'the Old Operating Theatre of the United Borough Hospitals of Guy's and St Thomas''.

St Thomas' seems to have lost the final s as in St Thomas's which had hitherto been used.


In 1980 Lord Brock died in Guy's Hospital and the Operating Theatre organising committee which was was renamed the Lord Brock Memorial Trust.  

1956 - the re-discovery of the Operating Theatre of Old St. Thomas's Hospital

1957-1962 - the Restoration of the Operating Theatre

27th October 1962 - The Official Opening of the Operating Theatre of Old St Thomas's Hospital

1962 - 1989 - The Operating Theatre of the United Borough Hospitals of Guys & St Thomas'

1989 - 2012 - The Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret

27th October 2012 - the 50th Anniversary of the The Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret




29/10/2012 KPF