History School Trips to London, England
England’s capital city shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to searching for that perfect History Trip destination. Beyond the famous landmarks, fantastic shopping and the show business of the West End, London is home to an array of museums and original historical sites allowing your students to explore the wonderful, intriguing and sometimes unbelievable world of Medicine and Health Through Time.
Medicine and Health Through Time
For nearly 2000 years, London has been a centre for commerce and politics, and as the population grew, further work was required to care for the population’s health. As a result London is packed with evidence and tales of seemingly barbaric Roman surgery through to fascinating developments in modern science and public health for your students to discover.
“A very enjoyable tour experience with the highlight being the Body Snatchers Tour”
“Great experience for the students. There are so many and an incredible variety of attractions within a very small area and accessibility is fantastic.”
What other history teachers thought of their Medicine and Health Through Time trip…
100% of our clients said they would recommend a Medicine and Health Through Time trip with Rayburn Tours to another history teacher.
Did you know?
Over 400,000 people visit the Science Museum as part of a school group each year.
The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garrett houses an actual Victorian emergency room.
Our quick, online quote form allows our specialists to provide you with a bespoke quotation for a trip tailor-made to your group’s individual requirements.
London Fact File
KS3, KS4 and KS5
London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City and London Luton.
1 pound = 100 pence
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Climate: (click to enlarge)
London History Study Visits
England’s capital city is a prime destination for a History Trip for students studying Medicine and Health through Time. Below you can discover a range of visits and excursions that can be built in to your tailor-made itinerary.
The Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum
Uncover the secrets of the laboratory in which Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928 that ultimately earned him a Noble Peace Prize.
Visitors can explore the laboratory that has been restored to its 1928 condition to learn more about the life story of Alexander Fleming and how his chance discovery became a life-saving drug that revolutionised medicine. Interactive exhibits guide students through the museum and a video culminates the tour.
Did you know that in 2000, the museum received an award from The Times for penicillin as a national millennium treasure?
The Florence Nightingale Museum
Florence Nightingale remains the most celebrated pioneer of nursing reform in the world. She is commemorated in this museum not just for her nursing efforts in the Crimea but also for her ideas of hospital design, reform of Indian public health, the introduction of health visiting, district nursing experiments and the founding of the Nightingale Training School.
The museum is divided into three sections. The Gilded Cage tells the story of her privileged childhood; The Calling explains how Florence Nightingale and her team coped with life in the military hospitals; Reform and Inspire looks at Florence Nightingale as the lady who campaigned tirelessly for health reform. We would recommend that groups break down into 3 smaller groups to visit the museum, rotating throughout the 3 distinct sections of the museum. The museum contains interactive dioramas as well as some of Florence’s authentic possessions including her writing slate and medicine chest.
An audio guide is a great way to ensure you make the most of your time in the museum, but please be aware that audio guides are on a first come first serve basis so are not always available.
The Old Operating Theatre Museum
This is a unique visit which allows your students to visit the only surviving 19th Century operation theatre. Located in the roof of St Thomas’ Church, which was surrounded by St Thoimas’ Hospital, the operating theatre houses an original wooden operating table, observation stands and other genuine artefacts. A visit here help students to begin to imagine themselves stood in the operating theatre witnessing a surgeon work on a patient without the aid of anaesthesia or antiseptics.
Built in the herb garret of the church provided plenty of light from the skylight above and an element of sound proofing. It also allowed students to enter through a separate entrance to that of the main hospital.
The museum can tailor your visit to meet the Medicine and Health Through Time syllabus and, should you wish, additional teacher resources can be downloaded from the museum’s website prior to your visit.
The Science Museum
The Science Museum was founded in 1857 and over the past 150 years has become world renowned for its collections, exhibitions and dedication to educating children and adults alike about the world of science.
The museum, all 7 floors of it, make for an all-round educational visit however for Medicine and Health Through Time students there are 3 exhibitions that will no doubt be of most interest. ‘Health Matters’ is found on the third floor which helps us to explore how medical research and technology have changed and developed medicine throughout the 20th Century. Parts of this exhibit have been recently updated and items on show now include an iron lung made by car manufacturers and kidney machine made out of a tin can.
Ascend to the fourth floor and you will find the exhibit ‘Glimpses of Medical History’ where over 40 reconstructions of events in medical history await you. These exhibits include a snapshot of the first operation performed using anaesthesia and a hospital operating theatre in the late 20th Century. Continue the journey to the fifth floor where the ‘Science and Art of Medicine’ gallery houses what is regarded one of the world’s finest collections on the subject.
There are a wide selection of teaching resources available for download from the Science Museum’s website including activities, videos and online games and websites.
Public Health Walking Tour
Discover the health, social and working conditions faced by the Victorian poor as you step back in time on a guided walking tour through Victorian Southwark. A focus of the tour is how the deadly disease of Cholera came to England, how it spread and the terrible symptoms associated with it. The stories of famous people such as Dr. John Snow and engineer Joseph Bazalgette are explored as students learn how they each played a part in controlling the spread of the disease and increasing life expectancy.
The walk will take you past the Old Operating Theatre, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge and Guy’s Hospital, ending on the bank of the Thames – the start of the cholera epidemic.
The increased death toll during this time due to diseases such as cholera created opportunities for body snatchers to steal bodies from local graveyards and sell them to the hospitals for research. As part of the tour, students will visit one of the graveyards where, to this day, the local community place flowers and memorials.
This is a great way to not only learn more about life for the poor before modern day medical advances and how developments in the battle against cholera came about, but also to see many of London’s most famous medical and tourist sites.
The Wellcome Collection
Established under Sir Henry Wellcome’s will in 1936, The Wellcome Collection encourages it’s visitors to explore the connections between medicine, art and life as they wander around the many exhibits and collections.
It’s hard to describe this museum, but once you have visited you will understand why the museum’s tagline is ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’!
The museum is currently undergoing a £17.5 million development which is due for completion in 2014. The development will include a new gallery and studio as well as an expanded reading room and new study rooms in the Wellcome library.
The Hunterian Museum
The Hunterian Museum contains one of the oldest medical collections in the world and, in 2013, is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary.
Based at the Royal College of Surgeons the museum houses collections of the surgeon and anatomist John Hunter including his surgical instruments and equipment as well as equipment dating right up to the present day. The museum also gives students a chance to follow the development of surgical and anatomical practises though time.
GCSE students studying the Medicine and Health Through Time topic can benefit from a hands-on workshop in the museum that asks them to work in small groups to create a tour of the museum focusing on a particular element of surgery, medicine or healthcare and follow it’s development through time.
Body Snatcher’s Walking Tour
In the 19th Century, the teaching of anatomy was a focus of lessons at United Borough Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital. In order to effectively teach the subject the students and teachers required human material which was brought to them fresh from the graves of London by bodysnatchers.
On a guided walking tour your students will visit some of the bodysnatchers’ favourite haunts as they hear tales of grave extraction and discover the truth behind the medical schools need for bodies.
London Sample Itineraries
Your bespoke itinerary will include the appropriate balance of educational visits and leisure excursions to fill your chosen duration and meet your aims and objectives. Your dedicated School Tour Coordinator will offer advice and recommendations with the sole aim of creating the perfect itinerary for your group, but just to get you inspired, we have outlined the itinerary created for one of our clients below.
Dates: 1st – 2nd March
Travelling from: Jersey
Passengers: 35 students and 4 teachers
Accommodation: Clink 261 Youth Hostel
Board Basis: Bed and Breakfast
Overview of visits: Science and History of Medicine Museum, Old Operating Theatre, Florence Nightingale Museum, Planet Hollywood and Legally Blonde theatre show!
The group arrived in London at 9.30am. Keen to make the most of their day, they moved swiftly on to the Science and History of Medicine Museum, arriving just in time for its doors opening at 10.00am.
Here the group was able to explore and view some 5000 objects from around the world, depicting the history of medicine in both western and non-western cultures.
After an insightful day enjoying the interactive nature of the museums exhibits, the group travelled by public transport to their hostel to freshen up, before enjoying a pre-theatre meal at the fantastic Planet Hollywood restaurant. The Savoy was the girl’s theatre of choice, and a performance of Legally Blonde! The perfect end to the day!
After a good nights rest the group rose early for breakfast before setting out on what was to be an extremely busy day.
The groups’ first visit was to the Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret. Hidden in the roof of a church, the group explored the 300 year old Herb Garret, which houses the only surviving 19th Century operating theatre. Complete with wooden operating table and observation stands, the oak-beamed garret was also used for the storage of medicinal herbs.
There was then just enough time before lunch for the group to take part in London’s public health guided walking tour, where they learned of the poor working conditions the Victorians had to suffer and how the mass cholera infection created opportunities for body snatchers to sell bodies on to hospitals for the purposes of research.
The group then grabbed a quick bite to eat, before completing their trip with a visit to the Florence Nightingale Museum to learn of the dramatic effect her influence had on the health and hygiene standards of today’s modern day nursing.
Date: 7th December
Passengers: 40 students and 4 teachers
Travelling from: Shropshire
Overview of visits: Science and History of Medicine Museum, Old Operating Theatre, Florence Nightingale Museum.
7th December 2011:
The group was met by their coach in Telford, where they travelled into London for their first visit to the Old Operating Theatre. The visit was a hit with all students, particularly when staff at the museum gave a dramatic reconstruction depicting the atmosphere of an operation in the time before the discovery of anesthesia.
With just enough time before lunch, the group embarked on the guided public health walking tour, where they learned of how the mass cholera infection created opportunities for body snatchers to sell bodies onto hospitals for the purposes of research.
After lunch the group moved onto The Florence Nightingale Museum where her nursing efforts in the Crimea are documented, along with her legacy and influence on the hygiene standards of today’s modern day nursing.
The Science Museum was the final visit of the day, and rounded off the groups’ trip before commencing their journey back home.
A Medicine and Health Through Time can be organised as a day trip, however to maximise your time in London we would recommend an overnight trip. Here is our favourite London accommodation centre:
This stylish boutique hostel near Kings Cross St. Pancras and the trendy Hoxton is the perfect base for a visit to London. With a truly British feel, the walls are adorned with Union Jacks and pictures of the Queen! The stylish and cosy rooms come in 4-6 beds, 8-10 beds and 18 bed dorms. Bathroom facilities are shared along with the lounge and TV room with comfy sofas, huge TV facilities, music and a Nintendo Wii; there are also internet enabled P.C’s (at a small charge).
Kip in a Ship
Let your group experience life below deck on the HMS Belfast. Catering for up to 52 children (26 boys and 26 girls for mixed-gender groups), groups can stay for up to three nights on board and immerse themselves in the ship’s history by sleeping in a real sailor’s bunk! Discover the stories of the men who lived and worked on board during D-Day and beyond with its multi-media learning session, all the while enjoying an authentic ‘Kip in a Ship’ experience.
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