M. I. Batten, 'Architecture of Dr. Robert Hooke F.R.S., Walpole Society (London) 25, pp 89-90 (1936-7).

The entries in the Diary relating to the College of Physicians occur on almost every page from the opening in August 1672 till March 1678, when they become rarer as the work draws to a close. It is only possible to give a few of them.


December 2nd. Gave Dr. Whistler estimate of physitians theatre.

1673 April 13th. Drew front of two lower storys of theatre. April 14th. Coffin began theatre. December 5th. with Mr. Story measuring at the Physitians College the Stonework.
1674. May 1st. Drew Designe for the Theater, May 26th. To Physitians College. They resolved Theater backwards. June 16th. At Sir J. Cutlers. Spoke to him. He resolved Theater before. July 20th, Set out Theatre at Colledge. August 7th. Propounded open theater. Agreed to. Sir Ch. Scarborough pleasd. September 5th. Past Smiths bill at the colledge, September 19th. At Colledge. Lem doing things contrary to order. Orderd glasing stopping, Whiting, hanging doors, putting on locks etc. December 4th. To Colledge past glasiers bill. December 21st. Gave draught to Hammond of Colledge Gate. December 23rd. Mrs. Hondius Demands money for Pictures. £20 account for Chimny Dining and £50 for the other chimny - unreasonable.
1675. January 12th. Agreeing with Story and Hammond for £210 for Colledge gate. February 19th. I had order from Sir G. Ent, Sir Ch. Scarborough, Dr. Whistler, and Allein to bespeak Dr. Harvey’s head of Pierce, as also about the King's statue and Sir J. Cutler spoke about Painter. Past J. Lems bill about labourers which Mr. Jenkins affirmed to be just and true to his knowledge.
1676. April 14th. agreed with John Hayward for £140 for Roof of the Theater and sent him to Sir J. Cutler. May 5th. Deliverd Lems and Glasiers hill to Dr. Cox. September 22nd. At Theatre, Directed seates. November 6th At Physitians colledg auditing Groves and Talbots bills.

January 13th. Bird told me Sir J. Cutler had paid him for Ball.1 February 27th. Saw Colledg ball up. April 13th Colledge order made for finishing the building on each side of the Theater. June 9th. Grove signed contract for plaistering the theater. August 8th. Directed Talbot about pipes and gutters.

1678 December 9th. directed Hayward about Theater Spire windows.
1679 March 8th.  Heard Dr. Charltons Lecture at Physicians Colledge.

The Cash Books and Annals of the Royal College of Physicians prove the truth of the Diary. Hooke's name occurs frequently. Wren's is mentioned only once, in 1674, when he in company with several distinguished physicians were invited to inspect the buildings. Dr. Gunther gives relevant extracts from these documents in Early Science in Oxford, vol. vii, pp. vii and viii. The first entry occurs as early as December 1670 and shows that the houses round the court­yard were built first. The foundations for these were laid on March 12th, 1671.

The College removed to Sir Robert Smirke's building in Pall Mall in 1825, but Hooke's buildings lingered on for some years, the theatre being demolished in about 1866 and most of the remainder being burnt out in 1879.

Illustrations and references.

Illustrations are fairly numerous, e.g. Public Buildings of London, by Britten and Pugin; Microcosm of London, Ackerman; Early Science in Oxford, vol. viii. An article by A. Stratton in the Architectural Review, 1916 (vol xxxix, p. 69), gives an interesting account of the college buildings, although erroneously attributing them to Wren, and also a plan and section of the theatre.

In British Museum Add. MSS. 5238 is an interesting drawing, reproduced in the Wren Society's publications (vol. v, plate 33), which would appear to be a preliminary drawing for the principal front of the courtyard to which it bears a strong resemblance.


Masons: Hammond, Story, Smith. Bricklayers: Fitch, Samuels, Lem.  Carpenters:      Hayward, Avis, Whiting. Joiner: Davies. Smith: Bird.  Plaisterer: Grove. Plumber: Talbot. Painter:  Hondius. Carver: Pierce. Unidentified:  Gate, Hewk, Griffith, Coffin, Parsons.

The Theatre and entrance gate at the Royal College of Physicians, Warwick Lane, London. Pencil drawing by J. Buckler, 1828.

(Brit. Mus. Add.MSS 36370, f 157)

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