Keats Passes Examination at Apothecaries’ Hall, 25 July 1816

On 25 July 1816, Keats made his way to Apothecaries’ Hall to sit for the examination which would allow him to practice as a licensed apothecary (according to the recently passed Apothecaries Act of 1815). The route he might have taken from his lodgings near Guy’s Hospital, at 28 St. Thomas Street, would have looked something like this:

Keats passed the exam. His success was attributed, by his friend and fellow student Henry Stephens, to Keats’s facility with Latin, but Stephens was recollecting these events thirty years after the fact (in a letter written to Richard Monckton Milnes to assist with Milnes’ 1848 biography of the poet). Other commentators and scholars have since made persuasive claims that Keats was in fact a talented pupil, even if he was then coming to realize that his future would lie in poetry rather than in plasters and pills. His examiners, in any case, granted Keats a “Certificate to Practise as an Apothecary,” as noted in the Register of Apothecaries’ Hall.

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From Donald Goellnicht’s The Poet-Physician: Keats and Medical Science. Courtesy of Google Books.

Keats’s name was also listed among the 71 newly-licensed apothecaries in The London Medical Repository, Monthly Journal, and Review at the end of 1816. Congrats, Keats!


From Volume VI of The London Medical Repository, Monthly Journal, and Review (1816). Courtesy of Google Books.

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