RCP Museum taster tour: architecture

Royal College of Physicians Museum

3rd April 2024 | 1:30PM

Join our lunchtime taster tour for a chance to explore the Royal College of Physicians Grade I listed home and discover how this award-winning architectural design was developed.

In 1958 architect Denys Lasdun won the commission to build the RCP a new home. A home that would act as a visual representation of the RCP’s changing organisation as it became a forward-thinking institution getting involved in improving public health. A building that would also act as a reminder of the institution’s 500-year history with purposefully designed spaces in which to care for its archives, rare books and historic collections.

Book free now to discover this striking piece of London architecture.

RCP Museum Late – Fortitude in focus

Royal College of Physicians Museum

4th April 2024 | 5:30PM

Discover exhibition ‘Fortitude: healthcare workers’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic’ and our fascinating collections after hours. Plus a creative craft cafe!

Book free with Art Tickets

As well as a chance to explore our striking building after work you can also enjoy:

Exhibition talks

There will be specialist curator talks on the current exhibition ‘Fortitude’ at 6pm and 7pm.

In 2021 we began collecting the experiences of healthcare professionals working in the COVID-19 pandemic. With their permission, the RCP is privileged to share their experiences, in their own words.

Please be aware this exhibition contains images, descriptions and audio recordings relating to illness, death, grief and trauma.

Craft café

Inspired by the craft-making activities that provided solace for healthcare workers and many others during the pandemic we will be hosting a ‘Craft café’.

The Regent’s Perk café will also be open for refreshments.

Explore our collections

Take the opportunity to explore the rest of our museum after hours including:

  • fine art portraits and ceremonial silver
  • the fascinating Symons collection of artefacts which would have been used by physicians and for self-care in the home
  • the Prujean chest of 17th century surgical instruments
  • an extraordinary set of rare 17th-century human remains

Family Day: Bedlam! (in person)

Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre

6th April 2024 | 12:00AM

An open afternoon for all ages, with talks, handling sessions and arts and crafts for 5–15-year-olds all themed around the history of mental health care. Explore our young people’s nursing exhibition with a family trail and find out more about the history of the mind.

Booking details: No need to book, just drop in any time during opening hours.

If you have any questions or accessibility needs, please contact us on rcn.library@rcn.org.uk or 0345 337 3368.

The role of London Medical Students in the relief of Bergen-Belsen in 1945

The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries

10th April 2024 | 6:00PM

Speaker: Professor Stephen Challacombe PhD, FRCPath, FDSRCS, FMedSci, DSc (h.c.), FKC

Lecture summary: In early April 1945, 96 medical students from the London Schools volunteered to help at Belsen concentration camp in the middle of Germany. On arrival, they were assigned one of the 80 wooden huts to look after, each of which housed up to 500 starving, ill and emaciated inmates. War to the East continued. 45,000 starving people inside the camp had had no food for weeks and no water for the last week. Typhus and TB were rife. The British Army had buried the piles of bodies but had made few inroads into the individual huts. The students set about looking after and delivering food and water to all the surviving inmates. The camp death rate dropped from 800 a day to below 50 a day within two weeks. The students assisted the inmates to be cleaned and move into a hastily constructed hospital of 14,000 beds. At the end of four weeks the students flew back to Croydon airport, gave back their uniforms, returned to their medical schools, and never met as a group again. This is their story.

About the speaker:

Stephen is Professor of Oral Medicine at King’s College London (now part-time). He previously has held many University posts including Postgraduate Dean and Director of External Strategy for the KCL Health Schools.  He is Past President of the British and International Associations of Dental Research and the British and European Societies for Oral Medicine, and was honorary Consultant in Oral Medicine to the UK Armed Forces. He has published over 300 research papers and is co-author on nine books on food allergy and intolerance, oral medicine; oral immunology. He retains a keen interest in sport, especially rugby, golf and tennis. He has been President of the Hunterian Society and of the RSM History of Medicine Society.

(Sydenham Lecture)

This lecture is open to everyone. You may attend the lecture and drinks and/or supper. Click here to book.

Taking London’s Pulse (or what I’ve learned from medical officers of health reports)

The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries

15th April 2024 | 6:00PM

Speaker: Ross MacFarlane (Wellcome Collection)

Created in 2012 as part of the Wellcome Collection’s digitisation work, the microsite ‘London’s Pulse’ brought together over 5000 reports from London’s public health officials from the 1850s to the 1970s.  In this talk, Ross MacFarlane will talk about the wide range of research inspired by the site and the often surprising history of the capital that ‘London’s Pulse’ contains.

Ross MacFarlane is a Research Development Specialist at the Wellcome Collection and a professional archivist by background.  Since 2010, Ross has led on projects that promote Wellcome’s library, particularly to academic audiences.  He has researched, lectured and written on a range of topics stemming from Wellcome’s collections and presented at a range of conferences and workshops.  His publications include articles and reviews for magazines and journals such as The LancetNotes and Records of the Royal Society, Folklore and Fortean Times.  His most recent publication is a contribution on the ‘fossil hunter’ Mary Annning in Women in the History of Science: A Sourcebook (UCL Press, 2023).

Who can attend: Open to all
Cost: £10
Dress code: Casual
Contact: friends@apothecaries.org

The Shadow Key – Book Launch with Susan Stokes-Chapman

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

23rd April 2024 | 6:00PM


Join Susan Stokes-Chapman, the author of the bestselling Pandora, who will be talking about her new novel. The Shadow Key is a richly atmospheric gothic page-turner, as a disgraced physician discovers dark secrets in an eighteenth-century Welsh backwater.

Meirionydd, 1783. Henry Talbot has been dismissed from his post at a prestigious London hospital. The only job he can find is as a physician in the backwaters of Wales where he can’t speak the language, belief in myth and magic is rife, and the villagers treat him with bewildering suspicion. When Henry discovers his predecessor died under mysterious circumstances, he is determined to find answers.

Linette Tresilian, the unconventional mistress of Plas Helyg, lives a lonely life. Her father is long dead, her mother haunted by demons which keep her locked away in her room, and her cousin treats her with cool disdain – she has had no choice but to become fiercely self-reliant.

Linette has always suspected something is not quite right in the village, but it is only through Henry’s investigations that the truth about those closest to her will come to light…a truth that will bind hers and Henry’s destinies together in ways neither thought possible.

A mesmerising maze of a gothic Georgian mystery. Enter an eerie and liminal world steeped in superstition, Welsh folklore, and pagan cults. – Essie Fox


About the Author:

Susan Stokes-Chapman was born in 1985 and grew up in the historic Georgian city of Lichfield, Staffordshire. She studied for four years at Aberystwyth University, graduating with a BA in Education & English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. Her debut novel, Pandora, became an instant Sunday Times number-one bestseller. She lives in North Wales. 

You can find Susan on Instagram and Twitter (X) under the handle @SStokesChapman. Her website is www.susanstokeschapman.com

About the Event:

-5:45 pm: Doors open.
-6:00-7:00 pm: Talk + Q& A.
-7:15-8:30 pm: -Music will play in the Herb Garret.
-The Apothecary Bar is opened until 8:10 pm. Drink tokens can be purchased at Front of House.
– Copies of the book will be available to purchase and signed on the night
-Time to look at the exhibitions. (Be advised that we do not allow any drinks in the Old Operating Theatre itself).
-8:30 pm: Event ends

Street Clinic: Young Minds (hybrid)

Royal College of Nursing Library & Heritage Centre

24th April 2024 | 6:00PM

Award-winning mental health nurse and global health consultant Dorcas Gwata speaks about her new book, Street Clinic. Gwata guides us into London’s bloodied streets, inviting us into her world, to witness her work with young people who are highly exposed to violence by virtue of where they live and who they go to school with. By meeting young people on their level, on the street and on their terms, and by talking to them in a language they understand, Dorcas reveals how innovative nursing can help young people and families to work through trauma, depression and anxiety towards better outcomes.

This event will have live subtitles.

If you have any questions or accessibility needs, please contact us on rcn.library@rcn.org.uk or 0345 337 3368.

Anatomy – How Do We Know That?

Old Operating Theatre & Herb Garret

25th April 2024 | 6:00PM


From the earliest times, anatomists have been map makers and map readers – exploring and describing the structure of the human body in ever greater detail from subcellular organelles to the whole body.

When did ‘seeing what you believe’ change to ‘believing what you see’? How did a dissatisfied medical student enable a paradigm shift in the sixteenth century? What was the rete mirabile (and why was it important)? Who were the resurrectionists?  What was ’The marvellous triumph of science which is reported from Vienna’? Who wanted ‘a candle to lighten a room’?

I will answer these questions in my introduction to the history of anatomy.

About the Speaker:

Susan Standring is the Editor-in-Chief of Gray’s Anatomy and a former Head of Anatomy at King’s College London. She has been President of the Anatomical Society and of the Hunterian Society and is currently a Patron of the Old Operating Theatre.

About the Event:

-5:45 pm: Doors open.
-6:00-7:00 pm: Talk + Q& A.
-7:15-8:30 pm: -Music will play in the Herb Garret.
-The Apothecary Bar is opened until 8:10 pm. Drink tokens can be purchased at Front of House.
-Workshop/Activities to take place in the Herb Garret.
-Time to look at the exhibitions. (Be advised that we do not allow any drinks in the Old Operating Theatre itself).
-8:30 pm: Event ends