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Our history

We can trace the very first charitable donations to our hospitals back as far as the 12th Century – before the Blitz, the Great Fire of London or even the Plague.

Barts Hospital was founded in 1123 by clergyman Rahere, who wanted to treat and care for the poorest people in London. Barts soon became a symbol of hope and respite in the Smithfield area and it has been caring for patients ever since.

Along with its associated hospitals, it has been the source of some of the most significant first steps in medicine. The discovery of the circulatory system, the founding principles of modern surgery and the advancement of countless technological developments in anaesthetics, X-ray imaging and heart surgery were all made here.

Without the money raised by benefactors and donors over the past 900 years, modern medicine as we know it may have looked very different.

That is why today, as our city grows larger and busier, the need to fund cutting edge research and care remains as important as it ever was.

Find out more

To read more about the history of medical developments in our hospitals, you can download our 900 years of medical care brochure (pdf)

To get involved in fundraising or to donate, please visit our get involved section.