Priests, Plagues and Patients: 900 Years of Hospital Care in the City of London

Event Details

Speaker: Dr Robert Treharne Jones FBCS FFCI

Lecture Summary:

St Bartholomew’s Hospital has been providing free hospital care for the sick and needy of London throughout its long history, and this year celebrates 900 years since its foundation by Rahere the monk in 1123.

Its narrative as the City’s hospital has seen significant interruptions from the Black Death, the Plague, the Great Fire of London, Spanish Flu and, of course, COVID, while the Dissolution of the Monasteries was the first of many political upheavals that threatened its very existence.

These threats of closure have caused Barts to reinvent itself on several occasions, each time coming back stronger, to help maintain its place at the cutting edge of clinical excellence and medical research. The Barts men and women who have played their part in the hospital’s story have not only led some of the medical advances we now take for granted, but have also been instrumental in shaping the healthcare professions.

Robert Treharne Jones, himself an alumnus of St Bartholomew’s Medical College, describes the hospital’s origins in the twelfth century; its first charter from Henry VIII; its redevelopment in 1720s; and the political machinations which prompted the rebuilding of the entire hospital during the early part of the present century.

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