Royal College of Physicians

Founded in 1518 by a Royal Charter from King Henry VIII, the Royal College of Physicians of London is the oldest medical college in England. It continues to play a pivotal role in raising standards and shaping public health today1.

The Coat of Arms of the RCP


The impressive Lasdun Building (a Grade I listed building) in Regent’s Park (11 St Andrews Place) has been home to the RCP since 1964. It is considered to be the most successful creation of renowned architect Sir Denys Lasdun, who was awarded the Trustees Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in recognition of his work2.

The main entrance to the College


The Censors Room



The College’s Museum collections are the result of centuries of gift-giving by RCP fellows and members. William Harvey, (1578–1657) – who discovered the circulation of blood – donated his own library and collections to the RCP in 1656 creating the Musaeum Harveianum – possibly the earliest named ‘museum’ in England. The portraits, silver and medical instrument collections are displayed throughout the RCP headquarters. They hold nearly 300 oil and sculptural portraits and over 5,000 prints and drawings. The silver collection has been used for centuries in ceremonies and for fine dining. The medical instruments and artefacts collections (Symons, Hoffbrand and Prujean), and the extraordinary 17th-century anatomical tables give a fascinating insight into the treatment and study of medicine3.


The RCP’s medicinal garden dates back to 1965. It was extensively replanted by Mark Griffiths in 2005–6, thanks to a grant from the Wolfson Foundation. Head gardener, Jane Knowles, has expanded the number of plants and it now has over 1,300 from the history of medicine4.

  • Photos by Adrian Thomas (December 2015 - February 2016)

Related items:


- on-line version of William Munk, Lives of the fellows, 1861 and ss.

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