please note: events are recommended for age 12 upwards

unless otherwise stated

Weekly Weekend Demonstrations...


Every week (unless replaced by a special event)

Speed Surgery - Surgery in the 19th Century

Every Saturday 2.00pm*

(Saturdays are often very busy - so to guarantee a place please book in advance via email or phone)

A surgical demonstration presented within the original architecture of the old operating theatre of St. Thomas's Hospital of 1822. Before the advent of anaesthesia, an operation had to be swift. Without hand-washing or antiseptics, the chance of later infection was high.

Herbs, the Garret and the Old Operating Theatre

Every Sunday 2.00pm*

In the past, medicines were made from plants, animals and even precious stones.
Learn how 'drugs' such as foxglove, myrrh and unicorn horns were used.
Examine real herbs in the attic space, originally used by the apothecary of St Thomas' Hospital.

Please note - half price and 2 for 1 tickets are not valid for special events



Pills, Poultices and Poisons

July Thu 24that 2pm

August Thu 7th, Thu 14th, Mon18th, Thu 21st, Thu 28th at 2pm

This summer discover some of the curious 'cures' that were used to treat a wide range of maladies in one of London's oldest hospital. This family activity workshop will explore some of skills necessary to qualify as a 19th century surgeon- apothecary.



Every Wednesday in August at 2pm

The Surgeon's Apprentice

Do you know your anatomy? Can you dress a wound?
Come to the Old Operating Theatre to learn how to train to become a surgeon in the 19th century. A talk and workshop for all the family.




This event is sold out


27th August at 7pm

(This event is sold out )

Henry VIII:

Disease, divorce and treason

Henry VIII is one of England’s most recognised and popular monarchs. We are fascinated by his wives, his palaces and his battleships. But how did Henry’s health shape the course of his life?

What turned him from a young, athletic prince into an overweight tyrant?

Join award-winning pathologist Dr Suzy Lishman to explore how disease affected Henry and those around him and how different things might have been if modern medicine had been available.

Admission price £6.50/£5.00, booking is essential as space is limited

Please contact The Old Operating Theatre Museum for further details



October 2014 is the 300th anniversary of the coronation of George I and the beginning of the Georgian era.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum marks the event with a season of talks about medicine in the Georgian age.



Thursday 2nd October at 6.30 for 7pm

Agony and Advancement;
Surgery in the Enlightenment


In the Age of Enlightenment, increasing emphasis on scientific practice lead to improvements to existing operations and the development of many new techniques. These included developments in cutting for the stone, trephining, eye surgery and reconstructive surgery and the emergence of surgery on the circulatory system. And yet, without anaesthesia, these operations were still performed on conscious patients and surgery continued to be a bloody and agonising experience for the patients.

A talk on the rise of scientific surgery, as it was performed by some of the greatest surgeons of the enlightenment, men whose personal and professional ambitions and energy shaped 18th century surgery, including William Cheselden, Percival Pott and the great John Hunter himself, and of the reality of surgery in the Georgian age.

£6.50, £5.00 concessions

Over 12s, Booking is essential as space is limited. Please contact the museum to book or for further details


Thursday 16th October at 6.30 for 7pm

"Taking the Air"

Pioneers of Anaesthesia

This talk celebrates Etherday, the first successful demonstration of anaesthesia in Boston on 16th October 1846.The Georgian era saw immense advances in scientific development and discovery.

Without the work of man like Joseph Priestley or Humphrey Davy on gasses and air, one of the biggest medical advances and basis for modern surgery might not have been discovered - Anaesthesia

Thursday 13th November at 6.30 for 7pm

"Things for the Surgeon"
The Body Snatchers of Georgian London


As the Georgian age began, the surgeons and surgical students of London were increasingly unwilling to just watch anatomies. They wanted to dissect for themselves. But with people unwilling to donate their bodies and the legal supplies of corpses limited, where could the surgeons get their subjects from?

Someone was waiting in the shadow...

Enter the professional Resurrection Men, who crept into the London burial grounds at night and raised the dead to supply the dissecting rooms of London's flourishing medical schools. Hear the stories of some of the body snatchers, learn some of the tricks of the their trade and how much a body was worth, and discover what happened when the appetite for anatomical subjects ended with murder.

£6.50, £5.00 concessions

Over 12s, Booking is essential as space is limited. Please contact the museum to book or for further details




Recent visitors' reviews from tripadvisor and more:

"Atmospheric and fascinating - go for the events and the 2pm talk on a Saturday!

"We didn't know what to expect from this but the family really enjoyed the bizarre herbs, medicines and instruments, and the afternoon talk brought everything to life... while showing how almost everyone died!"

"Visited today with my friend. We are both nurses and found the whole place fascinating but the curator made it perfect. A lovely lady who has such passion and vitality for her job you can help but be awed. A welcoming smile from everyone. 5 stars"

All events that are included in Museum admission are presented by Museum curatorial staff, unless otherwise stated.

Two for One vouchers and discounts are not valid for special events and for groups.

When possible, the maximum number of people egible for discount is a family of a maximum of 6 members.

To avoid disappointement, please be aware that lectures included in the admssion charge requires a minimum attendance.

Events Archive


The Old Operating Theatre, Museum & Herb Garret
9a St. Thomas' Street, Southwark, London, SE1 9RY
Tel. 020 7188 2679. Email: curator@thegarret.org.uk

The Events programme is organised by the Museum Staff and volunteers - in particular (in alphabetic order) Kirsty Chilton, Kevin Flude, Karen Howell, Valentina Lari, Julie Mathias, and Juliana Wakefield.


Our talks can be graphic in content, particularly where describing the history of surgery. If in doubt please contact us to discuss the content of a particular event. We give some indication of age range below. Generally, children of 7 plus will find them suitable. However, the Museum itself has plenty of activities to divert the attention of children from the toddler upwards. Booking is not normally necessary, except for our Half Term events where it is highly recommended as the Museum has a capacity of only 60.

PLEASE NOTE:We strongly advise booking, as places are limited and often in great demand. The museum is very small and has a maximum capacity of only 60 people.