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
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.
Contemporary oil painting of the Great Fire of London, showing old St Paul's cathedral consumed by flames and daylight turned to darkness by smoke

Exhibition: ‘To fetch out the fire’: Reviving London, 1666

  • 1 September — 16 December 2016

Human tragedy, cultural catastrophe, medical emergency. The Great Fire was a final calamity visited on a city weakened by more than three decades of destruction.

Special displays follow the story of the capital’s 17th century physicians as they were divided by war, battled with plague and almost ruined by flames, only to emerge with hope for the future in a magnificent new home designed by Robert Hooke. A symbol of London’s resilience and revival.

Explore original collections which avoided destruction: medical remedies and potions, fascinating archives, precious silver, rare books and a stunning assembly of portraits, including some touched by the fire itself that have the scars to prove it...

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday only
Please see website for details of additional closure days

Bills of mortality, 1665 (c) Royal College of Physicians

Exhibition late and lecture: ‘By Permission of Heaven’: The Story of the Great Fire of London

  • 5 September 2016 5:30-8:30pm

Join the Royal College of Physicians for a fascinating evening of Great Fire history with leading historian Adrian Tinniswood, OBE.
Explore the new exhibition ‘To Fetch out the fire’ telling the story of London’s 17th century physicians as they were divided by war, battled with plague and almost ruined by flames, only to emerge with hope for the future in a magnificent new home by Robert Hooke. A symbol of London’s resilience and revival after the Great Fire.
See 17th century collections which escaped destruction: medical remedies and potions, fascinating archives, precious silver, rare books and a stunning assembly of portraits, including some touched by the fire itself that have the scars to prove it.
Adrian Tinniswood, the evening’s main speaker, has written fourteen books on architectural and social history, many with a 17th-century theme. They include By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London ; His Invention So Fertile, a biography of Sir Christopher Wren; and The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in 17th-century England, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.
Human tragedy, cultural catastrophe, medical emergency. This event reveals how the Great Fire of London was a final calamity visited on a city weakened by more than three decades of destruction.
An unmissable evening for fans of the capital’s tumultuous history.
5.30pm: event opens – registration, refreshments and exhibition browsing
6.30–6.55pm: introduction to the RCP's Great Fire exhibition
6.55–7.35pm: Adrian Tinniswood: By permission of heaven
7.35–7.50pm: Q&A
7.50–8.30pm: exhibition browsing
8.30pm: event closes.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£10, including glass of wine or soft drink on arrival
Advance booking essential please see website for details and to make a reservation.

Website

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/permission-heaven-story-great-fire-london

Garden of Royal College of Physicians

Medicinal Plant Lectures: A Chinese triumph and an American awakening

  • 19 September 2016 1:30-5pm

The Royal College of Physicians is home to one of London’s hidden botanical gems: a 50 year old medicinal garden featuring over 1,300 plants.

This summer a series of afternoon lectures and garden tours reveals the rich heritage of horticulture and health. The final event takes two extraordinary stories, one of Qinghao a Chinese plant medicine in use for over 2,000 years, the other how freshly discovered botanical specimens from the ‘New World’ revolutionised 17th century European physic gardens.

1.30pm Registration
2pm First lecture
3pm Tea and garden tour with Fellows of Royal College of Physicians
4pm Second lecture

Admission

Tickets £10 per person.

Advance booking essential please see website for preferred date, details and to make a reservation.

Event Phone Number: 020 7034 4901

Event Email Address: Social.Events@rcplondon.ac.uk

Website

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/medicinal-plant-lecture-chinese-triumph-and-american-awakening

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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