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The Old Operating Theatre






London's First Museum

The first Museum in Britain was John Tradescant's Ark in Lambeth.  The Tradescants (father and son) were plant hunters and collector's of Curiosities. The Museum included natural history objects as well as antiquities, and ethnography.  The collection was eventually, and somewhat controversially, inherited by Elias Ashmole, who set up the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford using Tradescant's Ark.  

The Tradescants are buried in St. Mary-At-Lambeth, which is now the Museum of Garden History.  Their tomb is fascinating, and found in the midst of the Museum's beautiful replica Knot Garden. For more on the history of Museums click here:

Sir Hans Sloane and the Foundation of the British Museum

The world's first great National Museum was created from another great collection of Curiosities.  The 18th Century Physician Sir Hans Sloane stored his collection in his house in Chelsea, formerly one of the many homes of Henry VIII. After Sloane's death the Government set up a Lottery to purchase the collection and house it at Montague House in Bloomsbury. The Sloane Collection forms the core of the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the British Library.

The Origins of Museums Lecture .

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Brunel Engine House




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Next Guided Walks:

Sat 2.30 18th Nov 2017 The Archaeology & History of Chelsea  - From King Offa to the Swinging 60s - Sloane Square Tube 

Sat 2.30 2 Dec 2017 Myths, Legends and the Origins of London - Tower Hill Tube

Sat 10.45 16 Dec 2017 Exploring Roman London - a Literary & Archaeology Guide Tower Hill Tube 

Sat 10.45 30 Dec 2017 Medieval & Reformation London  - Smithfield to the Guildhall  - Barbican Underground 

Sat 10.45 13 Jan 2018  Cromwell and More's Tudor London - St Pauls Tube Exit 2 


Sat 2.30 27 Jan 2018 William Shakespeare and Tudor & Stuart London -  Tower Hill Tube  

Sat 2.30 10 Feb 2018 The Archaeology & History of Southwark - From London Bridge to Bermondsey Abbey - London Bridge - Tooley Street exit

Sat 2.30 24 Feb 2018 The Archaeology & History of Rotherhithe - Rotherhithe Tube


Sat 2.30 10 March 2018 Cornhill - City of London Ward Walk -  Bank Tube Station Exit 3


Four Humours of Shakespeare

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The Four Humours of Shakespeare by Kevin Flude





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Page Last Updated 13 November 2006