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

Oct Tue 28th & Thu 30th 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.


The Surgeon's Apprentice

Wednesday 9th Oct at 2pm

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.



The Museum also offers a number of trails around the museum
to explore all the exciting exhibits.

Earn your 'badge of honour'!




The Pathology of
Plague and Persistence

Thursday 6th November

200 million deaths but not one autopsy:a modern pathologist’s view

of the Black Death

In the fourteenth century bubonic plague wiped out half the population of Europe.
Doctors had no idea what caused it or how to treat
or prevent the spread of the disease.

Join pathologist Dr Suzy Lishman as she performs a virtual autopsy on a live model to investigate the effects of the plague on the body
and explores how modern pathologists would have dealt with the outbreak.
Find out what an autopsy involves and how post mortem examinations
have transformed our understanding of disease.



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 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


Hands On
The LMoHM joint museum handling session at Barts Pathology Museum

Monday 17 November 2014 2:00pm

The London Museums of Health and Medicine is hosting a free drop-in museum object handling session featuring items from a range of London's medical museums.

Expert staff from ten of the collections that go to make up the LMoHM group will be together in one room to interpret the objects for you and a wide range of health topics will be covered. Participating museums include (in alphabetical order) Barts Pathology Museum, Bethlem Museum of the Mind, British Red Cross Museum, College of Optometrists (British Optical Association Museum), Old Operating Theatre, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Surgeons, Science Museum, St. Bartholomew's Hospital Museum and the Wellcome Library.

Visitors to 'Hands On' can expect to see and touch, amongst other things, model body parts and bodily prosthetics, surgical instruments, and diagnostic equipment. Try on some old spectacles or acquire some surgical skills by turning your hand (or arm) to our interactive suturing activity.

The event will be held at Barts Pathology Museum on the afternoon of Monday 17th November between 2pm and 5pm.This will also be an excellent opportunity for many people to see the Barts Pathology Museum itself, which has only limited public opening at the moment. As a further reason to come the hospital’s own exhibition, the St Bartholomew's Hospital Museum, showcasing its 900-year history, and housed on the same site as the Pathology Museum, will also be open specially even though it would normally be closed on a Monday.

The event will be followed that evening by the first public lecture to be delivered under the group banner. Simon Chaplin, Director of the Wellcome Library and a former Senior Curator of the Hunterian Museum will commence what we hope may become a series of annual lectures on aspects of medical history as transmitted via medical museums.

Simon's lecture title will be entitled:

'From Alchemy to Zingiberales: exploring London's medical museums'

There are limited lecture tickets available. Places (if still available) may be booked online at http://www.bartslmohm.eventbrite.co.uk

No tickets are required for the 'Hands On' handling session but visitors will be required to register on arrival.

We hope that anyone with an interest in medical history will wish to attend one or both events.

Venue Details:

Barts Pathology Museum
3rd Floor,
Robin Brook Centre,
West Smithfield,


Curiosity Cabaret
'Science inspiring art'

Monday 2nd - Sunday 7th Dec 2014

performance times coming soon

please see the Curiosity Cabaret website for Box Office details

Imagine an era when surgery is performed without anaesthesia, when aseptic technique and antibiotics do not exist. Imagine a time when doctors still cling to their superstitions and medicine is much more art than science. Imagine no further and join us as we step into The Curiosity Cabaret...

A brand new London-based production, The Curiosity Cabaret is the first ever cabaret in the style of an history of medicine lecture. The brainchild of medical doctor and circus owner Dr Clive Selwyn, our show will fuse science and the arts together to create an educational and entertaining cabaret experience. Our first instalment, The Science and History of Voice in the 19th Century, will be held at the Old Operating Theatre, a real Victorian operating theatre housing its own extensive Herb Garret Museum.





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.