Inventory Site Record

St Bartholomew's Medical College Green (Islington)

Brief Description

St Bartholomew's Medical College was established in 1843, attached to St Bartholomew's Hospital at West Smithfield, the oldest hospital in London, where records of medical students date back to 1662. It became a college of the University of London in 1900 and in the 1930s established a residential college with premises at Charterhouse Square. St Bartholomew's Medical College Green was once part of the Great Cloister and grounds of The Charterhouse, a C14th Carthusian Monastery. The site was later the bowling green and garden of Howard House, and then a school set up by the Merchant Taylors' Company. It was acquired in 1933 and partly built over in the 1940s for the Medical School although a fragment of the East Cloister walk remains. There are a number of green spaces within the Charterhouse Square Campus.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Great Cloister of The Charterhouse
Site location:
Charterhouse Square/Rutland Place
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Institutional Grounds
Open to public?
Opening times:
private, use of college/local residents only
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail/Tube: Barbican (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City). Bus: 4, 56, 55, 153.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.smd.qmul.ac.uk

Full Site Description

St Bartholomew's Hospital (q.v.) is the oldest hospital in London, founded in 1123 by Rahere, an Augustinian monk of Frankish descent who, having recovered from malaria while on a pilgrimage to Rome, built the hospital and priory on his return, having been given land in Smithfield by Henry I. Medical students have been documented at St Bartholomew's since 1662. The current site of St Bartholomew's Medical College at The Charterhouse had actually been given to the hospital by St Mary's Prioress in 1187 but it was then sold in 1370 to Sir Walter de Manny for use as a place for plague burials following the Black Death. In 1371 Sir Walter founded The Charterhouse (q.v.), a Carthusian monastery, to commemorate the Great Pestilence. The monastery flourished until its suppression in 1537 after which the site was first granted to Sir Edward North and then from 1545 had several owners most notably the Duke of Norfolk who greatly embellished it, building a substantial Tudor mansion. It was eventually endowed in 1614 by Thomas Sutton as a home for poor gentlemen and a school, becoming known as Sutton's Hospital in the Charterhouse.

What is now St Bartholomew's Medical College Green was formerly part of the Great Cloister and a garden in The Charterhouse. The land was acquired in 1933 and the medical college was built between 1947-57, designed by Easton and Robertson. It was partly built over the Great Cloister, although a fragment of the East Cloister walk remains. One of several garden areas of The Charterhouse precinct, this had become the bowling green and garden of Howard House in the early C17th. It was later sold to the Merchant Taylors' Company in the early C19th who built a school on the site c.1805. The current Dean's House is the former Headmaster's House built in 1894, which still carries motifs of the Merchant Taylors. Opposite this is the former Lodge built in 1873/4.

In 1808 the site of the Green was described as 'a square piece of ground, bordered by the cloister . . One of which is the Terrace . . It contains about three acres, and is appropriated to the amusement of scholars'. A view of this area was published in Ackerman's Repository in July 1816. Until the mid-C19th the Green had uniform rows of trees running around its periphery as can be seen in a view of 1756 published in W Maitland's 'History and Survey of London', which corresponds with John Rocque's Map of 1746 and Horwood's plan of 1807.

St Bartholomew's Medical College became a college of the University of London in 1900. In 1995, St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College merged with Queen Mary and Westfield to create Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. It is now part of the Charterhouse Square campus and houses the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, John Vane Science Centre, Joseph Rotblat Building and The William Harvey Heart Centre, as well as Dawson Hall, a hall of residence. An inscribed panel set into the grass on the College Green charts the site's history from the Great Cloister of the London Charterhouse to its establishment as the Medical College in 1933 and the merge in 199, followed by the words: 'Remember those who lived, studied and taught here, especially Saint John Houghton, Prior of The London Charterhouse, who was martyred on 4 May 1535, and the Monks and Lay Brothers who, soon after him, suffered death and persecution. May the cause of healing inspire all who study and teach here today.'

Sources consulted:

Mary Cosh, The Squares of Islington Part I: Finsbury and Clerkenwell, London, 1990; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); History of St Bartholomew's Medical College on Queen Mary website

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ319819 (531950,182040)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Queen Mary, University of London
Site management:
C14th onwards; 1940s
Listed structures:
LB: 4 buildings in Rutland Place
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Conservation Area name:
Charterhouse Square
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Special Character; Archaeological Priority Area
Other LA designation:
Local/Strategic View

St Bartholomew's Medical College Green

College Green, 2007. Photograph courtesy of QMUL Press Office

College Green with inscribed panel, May 2013. Photo: S Williams
College Green, May 2013. Photo: S Williams
College Green, May 2013. Photo: S Williams
St Bartholomew's Medical College Entrance leading to College Green, May 2013. Photo: S Williams

Click a photo to enlarge.

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