Royal College of Physicians

Royal College of Physicians - interior
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The Royal College of Physicians is the oldest medical college in England. Since our foundation by royal charter of Henry VIII in 1518, the RCP has built up magnificent collections of books, manuscripts, portraits, silver, and medical artefacts.

Visit us to experience extraordinary historical and ceremonial spaces set inside a radically modern building created by Sir Denys Lasdun in 1964.

Our portrait galleries reveal eminent physicians by some of Britain's greatest artists. Our silver collection has been used for centuries in ceremonies and fine dining. Our medical instrument collections include early stethoscopes, bleeding tools, apothecary jars and a rare set of 17th century human remains - our anatomical tables.

Guided tours can be booked in advance for groups of 6+.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Museum

Opening hours

Mon-Fri 9.00-17.00

Closed: Public holidays and ceremonial days - see website for details

Admission charges

Free

Getting there

The Royal College of Physicians is located next to Regent's Park in the centre of London. It is easily accessible by all forms of transport.

The main entrance can be reached by approaching the Outer Circle from Park Square East and the A501 Marylebone Road.

By underground:
Regent's Park Station on the Bakerloo line (3 minutes' walk)
Great Portland Street Station on the Circle, Metropolitan and City lines (5 minutes' walk)
Warren Street Station on the Victoria and Northern lines (10 minutes' walk)

By train:
Euston Station (15 minutes' walk)
King's Cross Station (5 minutes by taxi)
St Pancras Station - Eurostar terminal (5 minutes by taxi)
Marylebone Station (5 minutes by taxi)

By road:
From the north: A4201 Albany Street from A41 North, the M1, A1, M40 and M25
From the east: A501 Euston Road from A13 East, the M25, the M20 and the M2
From the west: A501 Marylebone Road from A40 Westway, the M4 Heathrow and the M25
From the south: A4201 Portland Place from Westminster and the A23, M25 and M23 Gatwick

The collections of the Royal College of Physicians relate to the history of the College and the history of the Physician’s profession. They include; portraits, silver, medals, medical artefacts and instruments. They are on display throughout the College's building.

The portraits form a record of the most eminent figures in the history of medicine from the 16th century to the present day. We hold 350 oil portraits and 4000 prints. The collection includes outstanding pieces such as the busts of Baldwin Hamey Junior (1600-1676) by Edward Pierce and Richard Mead (1673-1754) by Louis François Roubiliac. Major painters represented include Godfrey Kneller, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Hudson, Johann Zoffany and Thomas Lawrence.

The silver collection reflects events in College history as well as the lives and generosity of its Fellows and Members. Few pieces pre-date the Great Fire of London in 1666 because of a robbery during the previous year. Baldwin Hamey’s inkstand bell and William Harvey’s demonstration rod are two of the pieces that survive. Many pieces of silver are ‘working’ objects and are used to this day for formal occasions in the College. Special objects include the President’s staff of office, the silver caduceus and the silver-gilt College mace.

The College also owns six seventeenth century anatomical tables, made by drying and mounting the blood vessels and nerves of the human body onto blocks of wood which were then varnished and used as a teaching aid for the study of anatomy. The Symons Collection of medical instruments began as a group of objects relating to self-care in Georgian times and expanded to include items that would have been used by physicians when treating patients in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

For further information go to www.rcplondon.ac.uk/museum-and-garden

Collection details

Archives, Coins and Medals, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Medicine, Personalities, Science and Technology, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • medical instruments
  • anatomy
  • medicine
  • physician
  • Doctor
  • William Hunter
  • William Harvey
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Dr Fiona Godlee, editor in chief, the BMJ

Women in medicine: a celebration

  • 2 October 2017 — 19 January 2018 *on now

'Women in medicine: a celebration’ showcases a specially commissioned series of photographic portraits of some of today’s leading female clinicians, pictured with the women from the history of medicine who have inspired them.

The exhibition is the result of a project, coordinated by the RCP, bringing together the leading medical bodies in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Each institution has nominated a modern day woman to represent their specialism or area of practice. In turn, each contemporary clinician holds an image of, and pays tribute to, the remarkable woman who went before them.

The project’s timing is significant, as 2017 not only sees the centenary of the foundation of the Medical Women’s Federation, but also witnessed the first time in history that the majority of the world-renowned medical royal colleges have been led by women.

Among the historical women featured are internationally acclaimed individuals such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Britain’s first formally qualified and recognised female doctor; Dame Sheila Sherlock, the prime mover in the establishment of liver disease as a specialty, and Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern hospice movement.

The present day is represented by past and current presidents of the royal colleges of physicians, surgeons, general practitioners, obstetricians and gynaecologists, pathologists and paediatrics and child health. They are joined by new photographs of many other pre-eminent female figures from medical fields as diverse as academic publishing and public health, radiology and ophthalmology, anaesthesia and education.

Accompanying online resources will allow visitors to find out more about the lives and works of the women who have changed medicine forever.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Website

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/women-medicine-celebration

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Still of BBC TVs Quacks

Christmas Quacks: the making of BBC2’s ‘Quacks’

  • 15 December 2017 6-8pm *on now

Meet the team behind BBC TV's hit series 'Quacks' over mince pies and mulled wine to discover how they brought the gruesome realities of Dickensian medicine to the screen.

How do you make the history of Victorian medicine funny?

From dead moles to modesty dolls, ether and mesmerism, Quacks is an hilarious romp through nineteenth century London’s medical world. Created and written by James Woods(also writer and creator of Rev), produced by Imogen Cooper(maker of Horrible Histories) and with history consulting by Richard Barnett (author of the The Sick Rose and many more).

The series follows a physician, a surgeon, a dentist and an 'alienist' as they navigate a time of incredible change in medicine.

Join us to come face to face with the show's creators, ask the panel your questions about making history into television and hear how the Royal College of Physician’s own archives and remarkable collections inspired the programme.

Tickets £9.57 including mulled wine and mince pies
Friday, 15 December 2017, 6-8pm

Spaces for this event are limited, visit the event website to book your place now.

James Wood is the Bafta winning writer and creator of Rev, Ambassadors and Quacks (all for BBC2). He adapted Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Decline & Fall’ recently for BBC1 and also written The Gamechangers, a BBC single film about Grand Theft Auto for the BBC.

Richard Barnett is a writer, teacher and broadcaster on the history of science and medicine. He studied medicine in London before becoming a historian, and has taught at Cambridge and UCL. In 2011 he received one of the first Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowships. He has made many appearances on British and American TV & radio, and is the author of six widely-praised books.

Imogen Cooper is a TV drama & comedy producer, whose credits include the BAFTA award winning comedy Horrible Histories, Channel 4’s Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, ITV’s The Job Lot, Yonderland for Sky One and Quacks written by James Wood for BBC2. She is currently producing the four part drama ‘Hatton Garden’ for ITV written by Jeff Pope.

The evening will be presented by Kristin Hussey, medical historian and curator of the Royal College of Physicians. She has previously worked in collections roles at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, the Francis Crick Institute and the Science Museum. She has recently completed her PhD on the history of medicine and empire in the late Victorian London.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

Tickets £9.57 including mulled wine and mince pies, book online to secure your place

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/christmas-quacks-the-making-of-bbc-2s-quacks-tickets-39440647037

Getting there

The Royal College of Physicians is located next to Regent's Park in the centre of London. It is easily accessible by all forms of transport.

The main entrance can be reached by approaching the Outer Circle from Park Square East and the A501 Marylebone Road.

By underground:
Regent's Park Station on the Bakerloo line (3 minutes' walk)
Great Portland Street Station on the Circle, Metropolitan and City lines (5 minutes' walk)
Warren Street Station on the Victoria and Northern lines (10 minutes' walk)

By train:
Euston Station (15 minutes' walk)
King's Cross Station (5 minutes by taxi)
St Pancras Station - Eurostar terminal (5 minutes by taxi)
Marylebone Station (5 minutes by taxi)

By road:
From the north: A4201 Albany Street from A41 North, the M1, A1, M40 and M25
From the east: A501 Euston Road from A13 East, the M25, the M20 and the M2
From the west: A501 Marylebone Road from A40 Westway, the M4 Heathrow and the M25
From the south: A4201 Portland Place from Westminster and the A23, M25 and M23 Gatwick

Royal College of Physicians
11 St. Andrews Place
Regent's Park
London
Greater London
NW1 4LE
England

Website

www.rcplondon.ac.uk/museum-and-garden

E-mail

history@rcplondon.ac.uk

Telephone

0203 075 1543

Fax

020 7486 3729

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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