Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): H01/GLI

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1765-1976

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 20.7 linear metres

Name of creator(s): General Lying-In Hospital xx Westminster New Lying-In Hospital | 1767 - 1818


Administrative/Biographical history:

The General Lying-In Hospital was opened in April 1767 as the Westminster New Lying-In Hospital. In 1818 this name was changed to the General Lying-In Hospital. It was founded by Dr John Leake, a lecturer in Midwifery, who in 1765 obtained the site on what is now Westminster Bridge Road and made a public appeal for funds. The hospital's aim was to provide "Relief of those Child-bearing Women who are the Wives of poor industrious Tradesmen or distressed House-keepers and who either from unavoidable misfortunes or the Expences of maintaining large Families are reduced to real Want. Also for the reception and immediate relief of indigent Soldiers' and Sailors' Wives, the former being very numerous in and about the City of Westminster" (from the address of Dr Leake at the first meeting of sponsors, August 7 1765).

The leases for the hospital site expired in 1826 and so in 1825 the Governors decided to purchase a new site for the hospital in York Road, Lambeth. The hospital moved there in September 1828. It was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1830. A program of modernisation and extension was begun in 1878, and in 1879 a training school for midwifes and monthly nurses was established. Sir Joseph Lister was appointed Consulting Surgeon in March 1879 and served in this capacity until 1911. He had also been President from 1897 to 1911. Under his leadership the hospital was the first in Britain to practise antiseptic midwifery.

Extensive rebuilding of the hospital took place between 1929 and 1933, when a new Out-Patient Department and Nurses Home were opened. At the outbreak of war in 1939 the hospital was evacuated to St Albans, not returning until 1946. The Out-Patient Department stayed at York Road throughout the war. In 1948 the hospital became part of the National Health Service in the Saint Thomas' Hospital Group. It was administered centrally but the old name was retained, and it became the maternity wing of the hospital. It was closed in 1971.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the General Lying-in Hospital, London, including General Court minute books, 1765-1947; Weekly Board, Committee of Management, and Local Committee minute books, 1776-1955; Committee minute books, 1907-1949; Attendance books, 1889-1953; the Hospital Charter of incorporation, 1830; laws, orders and regulations, 1835-1900; Matron's report books, 1881-1926; Annual Reports, 1879-1947; Annual Medical Reports, 1912 and 1927-1948; Correspondence, 1819-1956; Chaplain's book, 1855-1886; papers regarding the lease and maintenance of the Hospital buildings, including plans and architect's drawings, 1830-1962; papers regarding the maintenance of the Midwives Post-Certificate School at 75/77 Southampton Way and Camden Grove Nurses Home, 1919-1956.

Patient records including Admission registers, 1767-1944; registers of recommendatory letters, 1892-1939; Discharge registers, 1767-1772 and 1817-1859; Admission and discharge register, 1950-1951; Undertaking books (volumes of completed forms for undertakings to remove patients within one month after delivery or death), 1842-1877; affidavit books for single women, 1815-1858 and affidavit books for married women, 1812-1857 (recording oaths sworn by each woman confirming her marital status and the parish of her legal settlement); Midwives day books, 1824-1880; Delivery books, 1828-1877; Registers of baptisms, 1872-1918; Patient statistics, 1852-1971; Register of bookings and deliveries, 1945-1949; Medical Officers' case books, 1827-1947; Medical registers of In-Patients, 1887-1966; Registers of Out-Patients, 1877-1918; Receiving Room registers, 1907-1950; House Physicians' visits to Out-Patients, 1908-1930; Midwives' case books (In-Patients), 1882-1910; Midwives' registers of cases (In-Patients), 1946-1971; examples of case files, 1953-1962; Midwives' registers of cases (Out-Patients), 1910-1970; Baby Clinic case cards, 1954-1967.

Also Midwifery Training Certificates, 1784 and 1818; lecture notebook, 1915; prospectus for training of Pupil Midwives at the General Lying-in Hospital, 1955; registers of pupil nurses and midwives, 1879-1970; registers of staff, 1938-1968; interview record book, 1948-1959; financial accounts, 1800-1955; papers relating to donations and subscriptions, 1796-1955; newspaper cuttings, [1880]-1936; historical notes, publications and exhibition materials, 1884-[1975]; prints and photographs, 1776-1971, including the exterior and interior of the hospital buildings, portraits of staff and photographs of fundraising events.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

These records are arranged according to a classification scheme for hospital records: Hospital Administration (A), Patients' Administration (B), Matron's Office and Midwifery training (C), Accounts (D), Donations and Subscriptions (E), Miscellaneous (Y) and Prints and Photographs (Z).

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor

Physical characteristics:

Generally fit although some items are too fragile to be produced.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Material was received in multiple accessions between 1967 and 1995.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:

Doctor John Leake's hospital: a history of the General Lying-in Hospital, York Road, Lambeth, 1765-1971: the birth, life, and death of a maternity hospital by Philip Rhodes (London: Davis-Poynter,1977).



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

Hospital administration | Hospitals | Health services
Hospital architecture | Architecture
Hospital patients | People by roles | People
Medical history | Personal history | History
Medical training | Vocational training | Training
Midwifery | Nursing | Medical sciences
Nursing education | Medical education | Higher science education
Womens hospitals | Hospitals | Health services
Medical institutions

Personal names
Leake | John | 1729-1792 | man midwife
Lister | Joseph | 1827-1912 | 1st Baron Lister | surgeon

Corporate names
General Lying-In Hospital x Westminster New Lying-In Hospital | 1767-1818
Saint Thomas' Hospital Group | National Health Service

Hertfordshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Lambeth | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Westminster | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
City of Westminster