Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): CLA/066

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1660-1960

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.4 linear metres

Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

Bridewell was originally built in 1515-1520 as a palace for Henry VIII on the banks of the River Fleet near to Blackfriars Monastery, however, it was not used as a royal residence after 1531. In 1553 Edward VI gave the palace to the Mayor and citizens of London to be converted into a house of correction and workhouse for the 'able poor', vagabonds who did not work but were not infirm. A school was also founded to provide trade and domestic skills to destitute children. In 1700 a doctor was appointed to tend the prisoners - the first prison doctor and the only one until 1775. The hospital was put under joint administration with Bethlem Hospital until 1948.

The prison side of Bridewell was closed in 1855 and the remaining male and female prisoners were transferred to the City's new prison at Holloway. In 1867 the school moved to Witley in Surrey and was renamed King Edward's School. The buildings were demolished in 1863-1864.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Bridewell Hospital, 1660-1960, including administrative papers, reports, orders and recommendations.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Physical characteristics:


Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives and Museum Service hold the majority of the records of Bridewell Hospital, contact them at: Archives and Museum, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 3BX.

The educational side of Bridewell evolved, in 1867, into King Edward's School Witley, the archives of which are now held by the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library.

The prison side of Bridewell was closed in 1855 and the remaining male and female prisoners were transferred to the City's new prison at Holloway. Surviving records of prisoners at Holloway Prison (built by the Corporation of London in 1852, passed to the Prison Commission in 1877, became a women's prison in 1902) are held by The National Archives at Kew. See also CLA/003 for records of Holloway Prison.

For Corporation of London records relating to hospitals, almshouses and workhouses, see CLA/064: Almshouses and Hospitals, CLA/065: Bethlem Hospital, CLA/066: Bridewell Hospital, CLA/067: Christ's Hospital, CLA/068: Royal Hospitals, CLA/069: Saint Thomas' Hospital, CLA/070: Saint Bartholomew's Hospital, CLA/071: Emanuel Hospital, CLA/075: London Workhouse, COL/CC/EHC: Court of Common Council Emanuel Hospital Committee, COL/CC/LUC: Court of Common Council Lunatic Asylum Committee, COL/CC/RHC: Court of Common Council Royal Hospitals Committee, COL/CHD/IC: Chamberlain's Department: Institutions and Courts, COL/CT: Charities, and COL/PL, COL/PLD/PL, COL/SVD/PL and COL/TSD/AD for building plans. There are also various papers in the Corporation of London collection relating to public health. See the Hospital Records Database on The National Archives website for the locations of hospital records held in other repositories.

Publication note:



Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: February 2009

Administration | Organisation and management
Hospitals | Health services
Schools | Educational institutions
Workhouses | Buildings | Architecture
Medical institutions

Personal names

Corporate names
Bridewell | Corporation of London

City of London | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe