The Royal College of Physicians
Usually Royal Colleges are housed behind grand Georgian or Victorian facades. As a result of bomb damage the original home of the Royal College of Physicians was destroyed and it’s replacement, designed by Denys Lasdun is a famous example of the Brutalist style of modernist architecture.
The College has a study space, The Wellcome Reading Room, that is available to those interested in medical subjects. The College’s particular strengths are in the history of medicine, medical education and health and social policy. Services include access to print and e-journal collections and also e-books. Rare books, manuscripts and archives can be consulted by making an appointment.
The College is a fascinating place to visit, apart from it’s light and airy modern interior it is full of interesting objects such as paintings, silverware and a collection of historical medical objects. These include the very rare 17th century anatomical tables and the interior of the ‘Censors’ Room’ which was moved from the old building. They also hold temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The college is open to the general public and even provides a free headset guide for visitors who are interested in its architecture or displays. Unusually, the College also has a beautiful Medicinal Garden which contains a range of plants used in medicine, this is also open to the public and tours are available on several dates over the summer.
Near the Royal College of Physicians
The main attraction in the area is literally right next to the College: Regent’s Park. The park contains gardens, memorials and an open-air theatre. On the northern edge of the park is London Zoo who offer ‘Sunset Safaris’ throughout the summer, late night opening when many of the animals are at their liveliest. Also in the northern part of the park is Primrose Hill which offers one of the finest views of London’s skyline and is a favourite place for kite flyers.
A cup of coffee and a sandwich?
If it is sunny the best thing to do is take a picnic and sit in the park. The most varied selection of places for food and drink are near Primrose Hill. The Queen’s Pub has good food and is always full of dogs and their walkers. The Primrose Bakery in nearby Gloucester Avenue is famous for its cupcakes. A Regent’s Park Road institution, the Lemonia Greek Taverna has good value set lunches during the week and is a pleasant light airy space full of plants and ferns.
Royal College of Physicians
11 St Andrews Place
London NW1 4LE
Tel: 0203075 1649
Don’t forget– if you cannot make it in to St George’s Library over the summer, there are still many resources that you can access from a computer with internet access (logins may be required). Click here for further information.