Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum, established in 1842, provides a wide range of services and activities for everyone interested in the history of British pharmacy. Based on our unique collections of around 45,000 objects there is something for everyone whether you are a pharmacist, researcher, family historian, visitor to London, or simply fascinated by the history of healthcare.
The museum collection covers all aspects of British pharmacy history including:
- traditional dispensing equipment
- drug storage containers
- fine "Lambeth delftware" dating from the 1600s and 1700s
- proprietary (brand name) medicines dating from the 1700s to present
- bronze and bell metal mortars
- medical caricatures
- a photo archive.
Ground floor (reception area)
Displays on themes from The Evolving Pharmacy, to Pharmacy and Nature and Making Medicines.
Visitors can also find out how pharmacies have changed over time, and compare today’s experiences with how you trained to be a pharmacist in the 1800s.
The objects on display range from 18th century seahorses to current painkillers, and from equipment used to make pills in the 1800s to jars used to hold 16th century medicinal ingredients.
The current themes of the displays are:
- Healing Science exhibition, that looks at 1000 years of pharmacy history
- Highlights of our English Delftware Drug Jar collection – beautiful ceramics dating from the 1600s and 1700s
- Highlights of our Pharmacy and Medicine Caricatures collection
- Bell metal mortars (The Saville Peck Bequest of Mortars)
The Museum’s original materia medica collection is now cared for as part of the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Visit the Kew website for more information.
Visitors can buy postcards, greetings cards, history books and British Society for the History of Pharmacy merchandise at the Society’s headquarters. Visit our pharmacy souvenirs section for more information.
The Museum offers a range of historical services based on the information, archives and objects we hold.
If you are a researcher, student, teacher, or simply interested in pharmacy history, we have a wide range of online resources to provide you with ways to find out more.
The majority of items in the collections are kept off-site safely stored for future generations. If you would like to see any objects or images from our collections, please contact us to make an appointment.
A separate collection of Scottish historical material is maintained at the Scottish Department in Edinburgh.
As an Accredited Museum, we have an Acquisitions and Disposals Policy that governs what we collect, how we collect and how we dispose of items, alongside the ethical, legal and organisational framework within which these procedures operate.
Find out more about our services.
For more information about the history of pharmacy please visit our museum information sheets page.
The Museum runs a programme of events throughout the year. Find out more about our future museum events.
Visiting the museum
Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum
66–68 East Smithfield
London, E1W 1AW
Tel: 020 7572 2210 (museum enquiries only)
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum has recently relocated to new premises and we are currently installing the displays in the new museum.
As a result, the Museum is currently closed to the public. The museum will reopen as soon as possible after the move is complete.
Curious about pharmacy
Each unique book in our pharmacy collection has been carefully
compiled by experts to provide you with illustrations, photographs,
facts and figures about the fascinating history of pharmacy.