Welcome to the Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret

Housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital, this atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. The original timber framed Herb Garret was once used to dry and store herbs for patients’ medicines and in 1822 an operating theatre was included. Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe. Access to the attic is through a narrow 52-step spiral staircase. 

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We are closed in November

The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret will be closed in November 2020 to comply with the new lockdown restrictions.

All tickets purchased for Saturday bookings (on 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th November) will be transferred to a later date and ticket-holders will be contacted.


Keep in Touch

Thank you to everyone who has visited us over the last few months, who has purchased something from our online shop, or engaged with us via social media – we are lucky to have such wonderful supporters – and we plan to share more content via our website over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, please take a look at our Resources page.

Visit Us

this summer in a safe and welcoming environment

We are delighted to announce that the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is open over Summer 2020 from Saturday 25th July for weekends only.

But the way you book and visit has changed to ensure we meet Covid-19 Government Guidelines. Please read more about this here before you book.

Support the Old Operating Theatre

Support Us

as we recover from the Covid-19 closure

As a registered charity (no: 1155078), the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret generates income from museum admissions, education, events, and our museum shop, all of which is invested back into the upkeep of this historic space, its collection and exciting programming. With the advent of Covid-19, the museum had to temporarily close, meaning all of these income streams were paused, with a much limited offer available once we reopen. 

Help us secure the long-term future of the museum by making a one-off or regular donation.  Thank You.

Visiting us

The Museum is located in central London, in the historic Borough of Southwark along the same street as the Shard, just south of London Bridge.

History of the Museum

St Thomas’ Church, the Herb Garret, and the Operating Theatre

Venue Hire

The Museum is a great place for a reception or book launch. It is very atmospheric, which makes it a very special place.

History of Old St Thomas’ Hospital

St Thomas’ is one of London’s oldest hospitals. It has been providing shelter and relief to the sick and needy since the twelfth century.

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