At the end of our walk along the south bank of the Thames, we reached St Thomas’ Hospital. At this point due to the Thames meandering we were on the east of the Thames, across from the Palace of Westminster.
The original St Thomas’ Hospital was located close to St Mary Overie church (now known as Southwark Cathedral). It is reputed to by names after Thomas Beckett after he was canonised in 1173. It was originally run by Augustine monks and nuns. The hospital was closed in 1539 during The Reformation, only to re-open in 1551. It relocated to its current position in Lambeth in 1871, after the site was acquired for the building of the railway viaduct from London Bridge to Charing Cross.
Outside there are some artworks, including “Croos the Divide” by Rick Kirby, unveiled in September 2000. A visit was in order, not for any medical reasons, however to the coffee shop inside.
After coffee we visited the chapel. This is located on the first floor in an older part of the complex. Entry is via a door in the north east corner of the chapel. On the wall by the entrance “Peace” is inscribed in many languages.
At the east end behind the altar is a mural, with reliefs of various scenes from the life of Christ.
At the west end there is the organ. Beneath the trio of windows is the inscription “Come let us sing unto the Lord, let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation”
On the stairwell to and from the chapel are commemoration boards, including the Masters of St Thomas and the “Matrons of the Royal Hospital of St Thomas”, succeeding the Mother Canonesses, that ceased to exist following the dissolution of the Augustine monastery.
Leaving the building via a side door into a courtyard, there is the statue of Sir Robert Clayton who was Lord Mayor of London in 1679 and President of St Thomas’ Hospital from 1692 to 1707. The statue was commissioning in 1701 from Grinling Gibbons.