Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

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The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is a unique resource for the history of anaesthesia, resuscitation and pain relief. Visit the centre to explore the inspiring stories of the people, past and present, who have done so much to keep patients safe and pain-free.

The museum’s collection includes over 4,500 objects, encompassing the entire history of anaesthesia from the first demonstration of ether in 1846 to machines and equipment in use today. The archives and library provide excellent facilities for research into the history of anaesthesia.

Venue Type:

Museum, Archive, Library

Opening hours

Mon-Fri 10.00-16.00, appointment recommended

Admission charges

General admission is free. There is a small charge per person for group tours.

Additional info

A self-guided walk "Blue Plaques and Buildings - a history of anaesthesia walk around London" is now available in digital format.

All the collections (museum, library and archive) relate to the history of anaesthesia, pain relief and resuscitation and celebrate the people who helped the specialty to develop

Collection details

Archives, Literature, Medicine, Science and Technology

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
South American Indians preparing curare

Doctor Say Relax: muscle relaxants in anaesthesia

  • 5 November 2018 — 31 October 2019 *on now

Curare is a deadly poison found in the Amazon basin of South America, used by local tribes to kill and paralyse prey. Curare was the first muscle relaxant (or neuro-muscular blocking agent) to be introduced into western medicine. It allowed life saving operations, which were previously either very difficult or impossible, to be performed for the first time. Visit the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre’s temporary exhibition to explore the history of this fascinating poison and how it revolutionised anaesthesia; with real curare darts and specimens on display.

Suitable for

  • Any age




Anaesthesia Heritage Centre
21 Portland Place
Greater London




020 7631 1650


020 7631 4352

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.