London SE1 website team

Hospital history at the mini museum

The first cataract operation, Samuel Pepys' bladder stone and the recipe for 'snail water' to treat venereal disease all feature in a new mini museum at St Thomas' Hospital.

Mini Museum
The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College London has donated these Rosebud style dolls originally commissioned for the Centenary Exhibition on nursing at St Thomas' in 1960.

The permanent collection of artifacts and photographs provides an insight into the 800 year history of the hospital, including how it survived heavy bombing during World War II and how life on the wards has changed over the years. A glimpse of the future is also provided with images of the new Evelina Children's Hospital currently being built at St Thomas'.

Many of the objects on display provide a reminder of how far treatment has developed, for example, a selection of operating instruments give an idea of the pain patients would have had to endure before the discovery of anaesthetic.

Mini Museum
Wax teaching head which would have been used by the revered St Thomas' surgeon William Cheselden

The Mini Museum also demonstrates the many medical 'firsts' which have occurred within the walls of St Thomas'. Amongst these accolades, Peter Styles in the Electronics Department invented the first ever 'bleep' system' in conjunction with Multitone Electronics.                                   

The groundbreaking 'St Thomas Hospital Staff Location System' was trailled at St Thomas' in 1953 and featured in the TV drama 'Emergency Ward 10'.                                                                         

The Mini Museum is funded by Guy's and St Thomas' Charitable Foundation through its Art and Heritage programme.

Director of Art and Heritage Karen Sarkissian says: "The Mini Museum provides a fascinating insight into the amazing history of St Thomas' Hospital and all the various dramatic events it has survived, as well as showing the contribution its staff have made towards medical knowledge and practice today."

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