Guy's Hospital is a large NHS hospital in the borough of Southwark in south east London, England. It is administratively a part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. It is a large teaching hospital and is home to the King's College London School of Medicine and Dentistry (formerly known as the GKT School of Medicine). It is the tallest hospital building in the world, standing at 142.6m, with 34 floors.


The hospital was founded in 1721 by Thomas Guy (1644/45–27 December 1724), a publisher of unlicensed Bibles who had made a fortune in the South Sea Bubble. It was originally established as a hospital to treat "incurables" discharged from St Thomas' Hospital. Guy had been a Governor and benefactor of St Thomas' and his fellow Governors supported his intention by granting the south-side of St Thomas' Street for a peppercorn for 999 years. Guy is interred in the crypt of the Chapel of his foundation.

Guy's has expanded over the centuries. The original buildings comprised a courtyard facing St Thomas Street, comprising the hall on the east side and the Chapel, Matron's House and Surgeon's House on the west-side. Two inner quadrangles were divided by a cloister which was later restyled and dedicated to the hospital's members who fell in World War I. The east side comprised the care wards and the 'counting house' with the governors 'Burfoot Court Room'. The north-side quadrangle is dominated by a statue of Lord Nuffield who was the chairman of governors for many years and also a major benefactor. These original parts of the hospital are now administrative and social accommodation.

Despite substantial bomb damage during World War II, the original 18th century chapel remains intact including the tomb of Thomas Guy with a marble sculpture by John Bacon.

A bequest of £200,000 by William Hunt in 1829, one of the largest charitable bequests in England in historic terms, allowed for a further hundred beds to be accommodated. Hunt's name was given to the southern expansion of the hospital buildings. These were replaced c.2000 by new academic buildings for King's College, known as New Hunt's House.

In 1974, the hospital added the 34 storey Guy's Tower. At 143 metres (469 ft) high, this is the tallest hospital building in the world, and the 11th tallest building in London. It was designed by Watkins Gray. Guy's Tower is divided into two sections of which the top floors (floors 18-30) represent the dental school, where students of King's College London Dental School study and practice, and the lower floors (Ground-18) represent the medical departments.

The latest addition to the clinical buildings is Thomas Guy House, completed in 1995. This was originally to have been known as Philip Harris House, but the benefactor withdrew his funding in protest at the enforced merger of Guy's with St Thomas' Hospital

Over 8,000 staff work in Guy's Hospital and St Thomas' Hospital. They are two of the oldest teaching hospitals, and they are situated right in the heart of the capital. One of the services that the trust provides is dental care, looking after over 120,000 patients a year.

The site

The site consists of 19 distinct, but interconnected, buildings with functions including public medical services, teaching, research and student residence. Collectively the buildings are known by local students as 'the squirrel' due to the buildings strange silhouette.

The buildings which compose the campus are :

Major hospital buildings containing wards

Since the merger with St Thomas' Hospital, medical services at the Guy's site have been concentrated in the buildings to the east of Great Maze Pond:

  • Tower Wing (formerly known as Guy's Tower)
  • Borough Wing (formerly known as New Guy's House)
  • Southwark Wing (the western part of the block formerly known as Thomas Guy House)
  • Bermondsey Wing (the eastern part of the block formerly known as Thomas Guy House)

Research for the Trust's FACE wayfinding project identified that the similarity of the previous names led to widespread confusion for patients and visitors. From January 2008, as part of a wider project to ease wayfinding (which included changing the postal address of the hospital from St Thomas Street to Great Maze Pond) the names used for the three main buildings were changed with Thomas Guy House being divided into two distinct wings reflecting its separate circulation cores.

Other buildings

The historic hospital buildings are now used by administration of the hospital and King's College. From St Thomas Street, the outer quadrangle comprises

  • Boland House - east side
  • Conybeare House (containing The Chapel) - west side
  • Old Guy's House - south side

The centre of Old Guy's House leads into a colonnade separating the two inner courtyards. The western courtyard has a statue of the hospital benefactor Lord Nuffield and the eastern courtyard contains an arch from the old London Bridge in which a seated statue of John Keats was recently installed.

The academic buildings of King's College are centred around the lawned area known as "The Park". The premises stretch as far as Borough High Street and some buildings have names reflecting historic inns formerly on parts of the site:

  • Doyles House
  • Henriette Raphael House
  • Hodgkin Building
  • New Hunt's House
  • Nuffield House
  • Nuffield Nurses' Home
  • Pavy Gym
  • Shepherd's House
  • Tabard House
  • Three Tuns House
  • Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases

Lastly, there are a cluster of buildings to the south of New Guy's House, accessible from Snowfields and Weston Street:

  • Capital House
  • Munro Clinic
  • Newcomen Centre
  • Wolfson House (containing the Greenwood Theatre)
Guy's Dental Hospital

Guy's Hospital near London Bridge (5 minutes walk from the overground/underground stations) is home to the largest dental hospital in Europe. Its services include routine dentistry, dental surgery, oral medicine and specialist dentistry. In addition Guy's also provides emergency dental services, and oral and facial surgery with the majority of work being performed by students.

Dental work involves dental surgeons, as well as dental nurses, dental hygienists, dental therapists and dental technicians; all of which are equally important to the efficiency of the hospital's dental care services.

Developments and changes

On 31 October 2005 children's departments at Guy's moved to the newly constructed Evelina Children's Hospital.

The Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases was built following a generous donation from the Wolfson Foundation. This centre brings under one roof a number of research groups dedicated to improving outcomes of conditions including Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease and spinal cord injury.

Famous physicians who worked at Guy's
  • Thomas Addison, discoverer of Addison's disease
  • Thomas Hodgkin, discoverer of Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Richard Bright, discoverer of Bright's disease
  • Sir Astley Cooper, discoverer of the Cooper's ligaments of the breasts
  • Edward Cock, surgeon and nephew of Sir Astley Cooper
  • Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin and instructor of pathology
  • Sir Samuel Wilks
  • Sir Alfred Poland, the first to describe Poland syndrome
  • Sir Frederick Hopkins, discoverer of vitamins
  • Sir William Withey Gull, the first to describe myxoedema and coined the term anorexia nervosa
  • James Hinton, otologist
  • John Hilton, great anatomist and surgeon
  • Humphry Osmond, psychiatrist who worked with psychedelic drugs and coined the term
  • John Butterfield, Baron Butterfield
  • Frederick William Pavy, worked with Richard Bright, one of the founders and presidents of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London
  • John Braxton Hicks, obstetrician, discoverer of the Braxton Hicks uterine contractions
  • Gerard Folliott Vaughan, UK psychiatrist, who became a politician and minister of state during Margaret Thatcher's government
  • James Jurin, early work on epidemiology of the smallpox vaccine
  • Abraham Pineo Gesner, surgeon and inventor of kerosene refining
  • John Keats, writer
  • Philip Henry Pye-Smith, physician
  • Iain West, forensic pathologist
  • Devi Prasad Shetty, famous cardiac surgeon & Founder, Narayana Hrudayalaya


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