Guilds and Hospitals

Guilds and hospitals were an important source of extra-parochial suppport for many Londoners. Guilds provided charity to their poorer members, while hospitals offered an ever-expanding range of medical care. This website provides general information about both types of institutions as well as a specific focus on one example of each.

A nonchalant doctor dances a jig amidst unhappy patients in a decrepit hospital ward. C.Williams. The Country Infirmary, 1813. © The Wellcome Library, London.

Membership, Apprenticeship, Decline, Charity.

Carpenters' Company
Carpentry as a Trade, Membership, Apprentices, Decline of Company Powers, Labour Disputes, Charity.

Royal Hospitals, Voluntary Hospitals, Criteria for Admissions, Care and Conditions.

St Thomas's Hospital
Government, The Hospital, Medical Officers and Staff, Admissions and Patients, Care and Conditions.


If you are just getting started you may wish to consult the Research Guides provided; read the article on How to interpret an Eighteenth-Century Manuscript; and review the descriptions of the individual Document Types.

For a detailed reading list on these subjects, see the London Lives Bibliography.