Great Ormond Street Hospital – London, England - Atlas Obscura

Great Ormond Street Hospital

Children's hospital in London that operates on royalties received from Peter Pan, which J.M. Barrie signed over in 1929. 


The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, located in London, is closely associated with University College London (UCL) and the UCL’s Institute of Child Health. It is the largest center for both postgraduate teaching and research in children’s health in all of Europe.

Founded in 1852 as the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street has been working continuously for more than 150 years. It was the first hospital in the English-speaking world to provide in-patient beds specifically for children. The hospital also has a lot of other superlatives attached to it: It has the widest range of specialists for children of any UK hospital, is the largest center in the UK for children’s heart and brain surgery, and is the larger center for children’s cancer research and treatment in the UK.

While there are many other children’s hospitals throughout the world now, Great Ormond is known internationally as the one associated with Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. Playwright J.M. Barrie signed away the rights for his book in 1929 and the hospital has benefited from the proceeds ever since. The institution is entitled to royalties from any performance or publication of the play and all of its derivative works anywhere in the world.

The copyright for Peter Pan expired at the end of 1987, fifty years after Barrie’s death, but the UK government granted the hospital a perpetual right to collect royalties on the work indefinitely.

The hospital has a special museum and archive that are open to public by appointment. The museum covers the history of the hospital and includes exhibits on some of the big personalities associated with the organization since its inception back in 1852.The museum also houses several Peter Pan-themed displays.

The hospital is also home to the Lullaby Factory, a sound installation created by Studio Weave in 2012 that pipes out lullabies in a courtyard. 

A pencil drawing entitled, Game Changer by the artist Bansky can be found past the information desk and along the hallway that leads to the art installation LULLABY Factory.

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October 19, 2010

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