Monthly Archives: November 2018

Up on the Roof

Europe’s oldest surviving operating theatre is located in the attic of an 18th century church, St. Thomas. The church is the oldest surviving part of St. Thomas’ Hospital’s Southwark site. The parish of St. Thomas’s Church was restricted to the hospital and grounds so there was a close relationship between the two institutions. When the number of students attending operations became too much for the ward to cope with a special operating theatre had to be built. Because the women’s surgical ward adjoined the church garret that had long been used by the hospital as an herb apothecary, it became the obvious place to build an operating theatre. The original shell of the theatre is surrounded by period furniture acquired from London hospitals. Located just south of London Bridge, the museum is a minute’s walk from London Bridge Underground.