St Thomas’ Hospital, Southwark

Engraving of St Thomas's Hospital, 1739.
Old St. Thomas's Hospital, Southwark: a bird's-eye view looking east over the three courtyards. Engraving by Thomas Cartwright, 1739.
Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

In the decade after Becket’s murder a hospital was dedicated to him on the south bank of the Thames at Southwark. A fire almost destroyed it in 1212, and it was rebuilt on a much larger scale on a different site further west.

The hospital cared for the sick and needy, as well as providing maternity care from the 15th century. Although it was closed at the Reformation, the City purchased the site and changed the dedication from St Thomas the Martyr to St Thomas the Apostle. This was the basis for the modern St Thomas’ Hospital, which was relocated to Lambeth in 1871 and is one of the largest hospitals in London.

Thomas Becket

 English Archbishop (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162) and martyr, famously murdered by knights at Canterbury Cathedral after a dispute with Henry II. Miracles were soon recorded at his tomb. Canonised in 1173, his shrine became one of the most popular pilgrimage centres in Christendom. Patron saint of London with St Paul.