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RPS Museum's 175th anniversary

The RPS Museum is celebrating its 175th anniversary. The Museum was set up as a teaching resource for students of pharmacy and today its collections cover all aspects of British pharmacy history, from the 1400s up to the present day.

The RPS Museum is celebrating its 175th anniversary.

The Museum was set up as a teaching resource for students of pharmacy and today its collections cover all aspects of British pharmacy history, from the 1400s up to the present day.

This fantastic resource features a host of curious objects that dramatically illustrate just how far modern medicine has come since the unregulated use of untested, sometimes poisonous, substances commonly used as medicines in the past.

The oldest book in the collection is The Herbarius Patavie which dates from 1485 and contains beautifully hand-coloured illustrations of medicinal plants as seen in the illustration above.

The oldest item is a set of Egyptian kyphi beads from around the neck of a mummy dating from the 1st century BC. Kyphi was a type of incense but also had medicinal uses for lung and liver problems. 

The Museum collection also has one of the largest collections of English Delftware drug jars and dozens of bell metal mortars, some dating to the 15th century. Several of the mortars were forged in East London at the Whitechapel and Barbican foundries, a short distance from where the RPS Headquarters and Museum are located today.

If you would like to see any objects in the Museum's collections, please contact us to make an appointment.  You can visit the Museum Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and should you wish to visit with a group a tour can be arranged. 

Just contact [email protected] or call 020 7572 2210.


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