Entry Fee? – Free entry to the museum
Brief Description of the museum? – Housed in the former crypt of a nineteenth century church, the Royal London hospital is home to a plethora of outstanding artefacts relating to the hospitals 278-year history in the East-End of London. From figures such as Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man), Jack the Ripper and Edith Cavell, this museum is a must-see when in the Whitechapel area for a unique insight into the medical developments and phenomena experienced since the creation of the hospital in 1740.
Opening times? – Tuesday- Friday (10am-4pm)
Photography allowed? – Yes, photography is allowed in the museum however, please be cautious when using flash due to the age of some of the artefacts.
Interactive technology? – No, there is no interactive technology at this museum.
Facilities for kids? – Unfortunately, due to the museums small size, there are so direct facilities for kids. However, the museum makes for a fascinating trip for all ages if youre in the area.
Guides? – No guides are available at this museum, however an ‘I am human’ walking tour of the Royal London Hospital is available with free downloadable audio guide available online, which takes visitors on the journey of Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) using sources and histories taken from the hospitals archive. (Accompanying information leaflets are also available to download online or are available at the museum) https://www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/the-royal-london-hospital-museum-and-archives
Top 3 things not to be missed? –
- Replica Skeleton of Joseph Merrick- Joseph Merrick was born in Leicester in 1862 with severe facial and body deformities which coined him to be labelled as the ‘Elephant Man’ when he was exhibited at a freak show. After meeting Dr. Frederick Treves of the Royal London Hospital, Merrick went to live at the hospital where he died aged 27 of Asphyxiation. Due to Merrick’s close history with the hospital, the museum has subsequently placed a replica of his skeleton on display for visitors to observe the extent of deformities which so deeply puzzled medical professionals of the period.
- Copy of a ‘Jack the Ripper’ letter- Don’t miss a copy of a letter and envelope addressed to Dr Openshaw (a pathological curator at the London hospital in 1888) which is signed ‘Jack the Ripper’. The letter arrived with half a kidney which supposedly belonged to Catherine Eddowes the fourth of the canonical five ‘ripper’ victims, who was murdered on 20th September 1888. Alongside these photographs is a sketch which was taken from the mortuary on the day of Eddowes murder, and depicts the brutal wounds inflicted onto her on that fateful night.
- The original headstone of Edith Cavell- Edith Cavell was a nurse who served in the battlefield of Belgium in the First World War, who went beyond her duty to help many wounded soldiers escape occupied Belgium to reach safety. She was caught and arrested by the Germans in 1915, and subsequently executed by a German firing squad the same year. Next to a bust of Cavell in the museum, lies the original wooden cross which marked her grave upon her execution, which remains a testimony to her heroic acts have not been forgotten. A memorial to Cavell can be found just outside the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Food and Drink facilities? – No, unfortunately there are no food and drink facilities at this museum.
Tours? – No, unfortunately there are no tours available at this museum.
Nearest station/ Tube? – The closet station to the museum is Whitechapel underground station which is a 7-minute walk.
Bus routes? – Due to the location of the museum, it is easier to get the bus to Whitechapel station and walk from there. Check https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/ for the bus routes to the station from your location.
Postcode/ address- The Royal London Hospital Museum, St Augustine with St Philip’s Church, Newark St, Whitechapel, London E1 2AA
Visitors who are Deaf or hard of hearing: Unfortunately, due to the size and demand of the museum, there are no specific access arrangements for deaf or hard of hearing people. However, please do contact a member of staff if you require assistance in accessing the museum.
Visitors who are Blind or partially sighted: Unfortunately, due to the size and demand of the museum, there are no specific access arrangements for deaf or hard of hearing people. However, please do contact a member of staff if you require assistance in accessing the museum.
Visitors with mobility impairments:
The museum is accessible for wheelchair users with ramped access and lift access. There is also one disability accessible toilet which is on the same level as the Museum.