This chapter sets out the social, cultural and urban topography of the notion of a hospital in London c.1680-1820. My intention is to highlight how hospitals helped shape London in terms of metropolitan infrastructures, the built fabric and the city as a site of charity. In this way I aim to establish a firm physical location for the complex archive that offers us many readings of the hospital. The different interpretations and meanings surrounding these various topographies act as a prompt to the way in which this book works to dissemble the archive of the history of hospitals in London and use the fragments as a means of retelling these narratives using different predicates. It is, then, the military hospital, conceived of as a small city, which marks the opening years of this study and provides us with a starting point for a consideration of the idea of a hospital. A discussion of two well-known examples, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich, enables me to highlight the ways in which hospital design relates to that of the metropolis as a whole (Figures 2.1 and 2.2). These hospitals are indexical of the interaction between each institution and their environment in terms of urban development and planning, and the influence of these institutions on the shape, size and perimeters of the city.