Sir Henry Wellcome, a pioneering 19th-century pharmacist, amassed a vast and idiosyncratic collection of implements and curios relating to the medical trade, now displayed here. In addition to these fascinating and often grisly items-ivory carvings of pregnant women, used guillotine blades, Napoleon’s toothbrush- there are several serious works of modern art, most on display in a smaller room to one side of the main chamber of curiosities. The temporary exhibitions are often brilliant and come with all manner of associated events, from talks to walks. The Wellcome remains open while undergoing a £17.5 million development project, which will open up even more areas of the building to the public: in autumn 2014, it should reopen fully with a new second gallery and the ‘Reading Room’, which will be a combination of library, gallery and event space.
Read more about The Wellcome Collection's weirdest exhibits