Our history

Helping to improve health and wellbeing since the 16th century.

An important heritage and a bright future

With an illustrious history, we are proud of where we have come from. It is a story of innovation –  leading figures such as Addison, Bright and Hodgkin all studied at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

We look forward to a future of continuing to support innovation in health, just as we have since 1553.  

Hospitals and a charity with history

Medieval St Thomas'

The original St Thomas’ Hospital dates back to the 12th Century when it was staffed by Augustinian monks and nuns. It was dedicated to Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Reformation

During the Reformation, Henry VIII’s policy of forced dissolution of the monasteries led to the hospital laying derelict for over a decade. In 1553 it was re-opened and endowed by Edward VI, Henry VIII’s son, and rededicated to Thomas the Apostle.

Thomas Guy

In 1721, Thomas Guy, a bible seller, MP and governor of St Thomas’, funded the building of Guy’s Hospital for the care of “the incurably ill and the hopelessly insane”. He died before the building was complete but left one third of his estate to the hospital.

Relocation of St Thomas'

Due to the building of the railway at London Bridge, St Thomas’ Hospital was forced to relocate to Lambeth in 1871.



As voluntary hospitals, Guy’s and St Thomas’ relied on donations and endowments. When the NHS was created in 1948, health service funding was taken on by the Government, but donations and the historic endowments continued to support the hospitals' work.

Merger of hospitals and charities

In 1993 Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals were merged under one NHS Trust. The two separate charitable funds were also joined to form Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charitable Foundation.

Change of name

When Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Trust achieved Foundation Trust status in 2004, the name of the charity was changed to Guy's and St Thomas' Charity.

New status

In April 2015, the charity stopped being an NHS charity and became independent from the Department of Health. Its mission and strategy continued to be the same.

Our Timeline of innovation  showcases our continued desire to support health and healthcare innovation in Lambeth and Southwark - just as we have always done.

Our arts collection is an important part of our heritage - view highlights of our collection.

Our history under X-ray

Sue Ridge's Wunderkammer X-Ray light box (2013) combines X-ray and CT scanned objects of interest and significance in our history. All objects are drawn from Guy's and St Thomas' Museums.

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