Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is a museum located in the heart of London, dedicated to the history and development of anaesthesia and its impact on modern medicine. Established in 1992, the museum has a wealth of information and exhibits on the subjects of anaesthesia, pain relief and resuscitation, making it an important resource for medical professionals and history enthusiasts alike.

The history of anaesthesia is a fascinating one, with its roots dating back thousands of years. The use of anaesthetics can be traced back to ancient civilisations such as the Greeks and the Romans, who used a variety of substances to dull pain and induce unconsciousness during surgery. In the 19th century, the development of ether and chloroform revolutionised the field of anaesthesia, allowing for the first time the possibility of painless surgery.

One of the main highlights of the museum is its collection of anaesthetic equipment, which includes a wide range of artefacts from different periods in history. Early apparatus from 1774, include the primitive hand bellows and pipes used to literally pump comatose patients back to life. Visitors can see everything from early anaesthetic machines to modern-day equipment, providing a glimpse into the evolution of anaesthesia over the years.

In addition to its collection of anaesthetic equipment, the museum also has a variety of exhibits on the history of anaesthesia. These include a timeline of key events in the development of anaesthesia, as well as information on the pioneers who helped shape the field. One of the most interesting exhibits is the original 19th-century John Snow chloroform inhaler, from the early days of anaesthesia. In a dedicated gallery to the work of Dr. John Snow, a pioneering anaesthesiologist who is credited with helping to develop the use of ether as an anaesthetic.

Another important feature of the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is its library, which contains a wealth of information on the history of anaesthesia. The library is home to a wide range of books, articles, and other resources on the subject, making it an invaluable resource for researchers and those interested in learning more about the history of anaesthesia.

In addition to its exhibits and library, the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre also hosts a variety of events and educational programs throughout the year. These include lectures and workshops on topics related to the history of anaesthesia, as well as tours of the museum's exhibits. The museum also offers internships and research opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in the field of anaesthesia.

Overall, the Anaesthesia Heritage Centre museum is a fascinating and educational resource for anyone interested in the history and development of anaesthesia. With its collection of artefacts, exhibits, and library, it provides a wealth of information on this important field, making it a must-visit destination for medical professionals and history enthusiasts alike.

Museum Facilities


Audio Guide

Wheelchair Access


Tour Guide




Venue Hire

All information is drawn from or provided by the museums themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.