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The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland
The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre

21 Portland Place
London W1B 1PY
United Kingdom
P. Willis, Archivist
+44 020 7631 1650
44 020 7631 1650
Fax: +44 020 7631 4352

The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre brings together the Association's museum, archives and library to tell the story of the history of anaesthesia. The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is open to specialists and members of the public. Open Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Appointment is recommended. There is no entrance charge but charges do apply for some services. The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre is accessible via an outside staircase from street level to the basement, and for disabled visitors via the main reception and lift. Information about the exhibition is available in large print on request. Bookings for groups up to 15 people can be made on request. Talks and guided tours are also available. A fee will be charged.


The Anaesthesia Heritage Centre comprises the archives, library and museum of the Association. The collections work together to help date, explain and illustrate each other and are therefore a unique resource for research into the history of anaesthesia. The archives contain the papers of the Association dating back to its foundation in 1932 and the collections of individual anaesthetists and specialist societies. A substantial collection of photographs are also available. The Anaesthesia Museum began when A. Charles King gave his collection of historic anaesthetic apparatus to the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland in 1953. The collections have grown and now encompass the history of anaesthesia, from the first demonstration of ether in 1846 to modern anesthetic machines and appliances. Only some of the collection is on display. However, it is possible to see some of the items not displayed by advance request. The Library consists of books relating to anaesthesia and related subjects. It was formed following the receipt of three collections: that of Dr. K. Bryn Thomas, Dr. J. Alfred Lee and part of Charles King's library. There is a substantial collection of pamphlets and technical literature forming a unique resource. A complete set of the Association's Journal Anaesthesia is held in the library and an almost complete set of The British Journal of Anaesthesia from 1939 onwards. As well as the rare and technical books in the Library, there are video copies of early films relating to anaesthesia and much more.

Subject Strengths:
History of Anesthesiology and Anesthesia
Last Updated:
02 Jul 2010