Art and Medicine Tours London

Medical Southwark: Sawbones to Shard

David from London Walks  describes this fascinating medical tour – Anyone up for making the rounds with Dr. Barry in Southwark? Grab your stethoscope and white coat and let’s go. It’s a tale – and trail – of rhino horns and the King’s Evil and scurvy limeys and barber surgeons and London’s only forensic medicine museum and a mock below knee amputation performed in the Old Operating Theatre (the world’s only surviving Georgian operating theatre). And what a setting. Medical districts don’t come any older. Or more distinguished. Let alone more fun and fascinating. Bears repeating: Barry’s making the rounds today in Southwark, London’s doppelganger on the other side of the river. It’s as old as London itself. So, yes, there’s been medical mayhem, malpractice and molestation going on here for 2,000 years. That’s the rough. But there are plenty of diamonds here as well. Inspirational work, important work, breakthrough work. It’s a rich repast, a medical mix to make merry in. What’s not to like about a rough and ready London neighbourhood that was famous for prisons and brothels and inns and theatres and hospitals. One of which – one of the hospitals that is – goes back nearly 1,000 years. In “the good old days” the place was run by the Matron, the Clerk and the Hospitaler, with the surgeon listed below the shoemaker. There was no physician on the staff until 1566. Difficult patients were confined in the stocks and nurses were disciplined at the whipping post. He who did not rise for church on Sunday got no dinner. Well, you get the idea. Fun walk. Fascinating area. And – always on our medical London Walks – the big plus: they’re guided by a doctor, a Public Health Physician.

There is no need to book to go on the Medical Southwark – Sawbones to Shard. This walk is offered as part of London Walks. You can check their website for times and dates by clicking here. Or email Barry and he will reply with the information.


Meet Dr. Barry
Meet Dr. Barry just outside the Fish Street Hill exit of Monument Tube.
The walk ends at the Old Operating Theatre, Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY
The walk ends at the Old Operating Theatre* in St. Thomas' Street, just round the corner from London BridgeTube (and Railway) Station. *There's a small admission charge for the Old Operating Theatre visit.