Medical Heritage of Great Britain


Over the centuries, disease and mankind's efforts to be rid of it have left a tangible mark on the landscape - what one might call the archaeology of medicine. These historical artefacts have been largely neglected and with the rapid changes in medical care which characterise contemporary society, old established institutions are being closed and their buildings abandoned. Derelict hospital buildings are now a familiar part of the British urban landscape. Some are rapidly reduced to rubble whilst others suffer a less ignominious fate by undergoing an architectural metamorphosis into supermarkets, hotels and residential developments.

General practitioners increasingly work within purpose built premises. The forerunners of such buildings are the 19th century dispensaries, some of which survive and have been adapted to other purposes. There are now very few examples of old established doctors' surgeries which are still providing a service in their original setting. A few early surgeries have been rebuilt in museum or heritage settings.


A few working pharmacies still have good collections of jars and other ancient paraphernalia whilst others have been dismantled and reassembled in museums and heritage theme parks.

Tangible or visible artefacts turn up in unexpected places, not just in museums but also in churches and cathedrals, country houses, shipyards, army barracks, and even in open fields.

Some  places listed on this web site can be visited by the public but  others require prior arrangements to be made with the owners or are only visible from the public highway. Many sites have not yet been included because we don't know about them.

This website is produced by the Bath & Wessex Medical History Group, a non-profit making medical history society and is devoted to raising awareness of the history and archaeology of medicine. Not all information given about accessibility, opening times  or telephone numbers has been recently checked and may be inaccurate so you are advised to check with places which are open to the public before visiting. The compilers of this web site can take no responsibility for any damage or loss which might arise as a result of information placed here or other sites which are linked.

All text on these pages is copyright to the Bath & Wessex Medical History Group. 35 Pulteney St. Bath. BA2 4BY. UK

Last updated 7 December 2006