Clerkenwell is best known for the Museum of the Order of St. John, St. John's Gate located on St. John's Lane. The Museum is at what was once the entrance to the medieval priory of the Order of St. John, in a Tudor gatehouse dating from 504A.D. In the 12th century The Knights Hospitaller was founded under the order to care for travel weary Crusaders. Today those places of care are called hospitals. The St. John's ambulance Brigade was started in 1877. Later the buildings were used for offices, a public house, a coffee shop, and housed the offices of "Gentleman's Magazine."
Today it stands as the offices of the British order of St. Johns. The museum traces the history of the building through a collection of books, armor, paintings, pharmacy jars and medical instruments--some quite grisly. Free admission includes a guided tour of the building, cemetery, and 12th century crypt. While admission is free, donations are requested to help with refurbishments and up keep. Clerkenwell is also the site of London's oldest church dating back to 1123. It is also where the socialist "London Patriotic Club" was established, although now the area is known more for traditional English restaurants and clubs.
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