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The Apothecary at St Thomas Hospital

Plan of Hospital


The Herb Garret was used by the Apothecary of St. Thomas's Hospital. He was the chief resident medical officer, responsible not only for compounding medicines but also for diagnosis for the non-surgical patients.

He had a laboratory by his chambers, 4 doors down the road from here.

medieval apothecary

He had to pay for all the drugs required by the hospital out of his own fees. This was a device the Governors used to 'cash-limit' the costs of health-care. However, the system was not ideal as there were complaints that the Apothecary made savings on the drug bill at the expense of the quality of the medicines.

He obtained some of his Herbs from the Hospital's Garden, some brought in by the Herb Woman, (sold by the container full; eg wormwood by the horseload; others by lapfull, bundle, bag or flasket). Other herbs were purchased from City Apothecaries, many of whom were Hospital Governors.

St. Thomas's employed its first Apothecary in 1566, and its last in 1871 when the role as senior medical officer was transferred to the Assistant Physician.

The Apothecary lived at no 15 St Thomas St, the treasurer at No 9, Receiver at no11, Minister at no 13.

spacer image Notes from St. Thomas's archives concerning herbs and the apothecary spacer image Apothecaries in London

spacer image Herb List from Guy's Hospital spacer image Medicinal use of Herbs spacer image Apothecaries in Londonspacer image Administering herbal medicines spacer image 'A Modern Herbal' by Mrs M Grieve. spacer image

spacer imageSt Thomas's Church Planspacer imageSt Thomas's Church Infospacer imageLondon Museums of Health and Medicine spacer imageThe Old Operating Theatre Museumspacer imageThe Herb Garretspacer image