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Royal College of Surgeons of England

London Lock Hospital records


Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0022

Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England

Title: London Lock Hospital records

Date(s): 1746-1948

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 67 boxes

Name of creator(s): London Lock Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London Lock Hospital was founded in 1746, by William Bromfeild, it was the first voluntary hospital for venereal diseases. It was taken over by the National Health Service in 1948 and closed in 1953.

The original building for the hospital was at Grosvenor Place, near Hyde Park, (1746 - 1841). In 1842 it moved to Harrow Road, Westbourne Grove. A new building was opened in 1862 at Dean Street and Harrow Road became "The Female Hospital." Dean Street was for male, out patients. A new wing was opened at Dean Street in 1867 to make room for all the referrals from the War Office who had no facilities to fulfil their obligations under the Contagious Diseases Act 1864, the number of patients significantly declined after the act was repealed in 1886.

The Female Hospital added a maternity unit in 1917 and at the request of the London County Council a special unit for mentally defective women with venereal disease was opened shortly after. An eye clinic, an electro-therapeutic department and an genito-urinary unit opened in the 1920's. The latter treated a wide range of gynaecological conditions which were not obviously venereal in origin. During the Second World War The Female Hospital was requisitioned by the War Office for use as a Military Isolation Hospital. Clinics continued during the war at Dean Street for both male and female patients.

In 1758 Revd. Martin Madan became the Honorary Chaplain and built a chapel, seating 800, which opened in 1865. The rent of pews provided income for the hospital. Madan, a follower of John Wesley, introduced singing of hymns by the whole congregation and published a book of hymns with music as used in the chapel. Madan was forced to resign in 1780 after publishing "Thelyphthora or Female Ruin" which advocated the solution to prostitution in polygamy. From 1889 the management of the chapel moved to the congregants and it was renamed "Christ's Church".

The Lock Asylum for the Reception of Penitent Female Patients (also known as the Lock Rescue Home) was proposed in 1787 and opened in 1792 with the aim of providing a refuge/reformatory for women with venereal diseases who had been treated at the Lock Hospital, but had no steady life to which to return. The girls were taught needlework and other skills which it was hoped would fit them for service. It originally occupied buildings at Osnaburg Row but moved to a building opposite the Cannon Bewery in Knightsbridge in 1812 and to Lower Eaton Street in 1816. However, Lower Eaton Street was felt to be too far from the chapel at Grosvenor Square. The Asylum moved to the new building in Harrow Road in 1849 and changed its name to "Rescue Home" in 1893. The full name of the London Lock now being the London Lock Hospital and Rescue Home.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the London Lock Hospital, 1746-1948, including administrative records detailing patient admissions and treatment. Board Minutes 1755-1948 (neat), 1761-1857 (rough); Asylum Minutes - general & special & annual, 1746-1948; Asylum Committees 1787-1842; Building Committee 1839-1849 including Chapel building fund 1845; Chapel Committee 1809-1877; Hospital Committee 1781-1870; Financial records 1787-1877; Annual Reports 1818-1945; Bye- laws 1890's; Annual Statistics 1870-1877; Dinners 1846-1864; Drug registers and case notes 1813-1814 and John Pearson (Assistant Surgeon) - clinical notes 1798-1799.


Language/scripts of material: English.

System of arrangement:

By record type as given in Scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Access to Collection on written application to The Archivist, Royal College of Surgeons of England 35-43 Lincoln Inn Fields London WC2A 3PN. A fee to use the library may be payable to readers who are not Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copy permission on application to The Archivist, Royal College of Surgeons of England 35-43 Lincoln Inn Fields London WC2A 3PN. Copyright is held by the President and Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Brief handlist by Julia Sheppard of Contemporary Medical Archives Centre, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (Nov 1983)

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


None expected.

Archival history:

Transferred to Royal College of Surgeons in 1952 by the North West Regional Health Authority who had taken over responsibility for the Hospital in 1948.

Immediate source of acquisition:

North West Health Authority.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Royal College of Surgeons of England manuscript collection also includes:

Watercolours of drawing of London Lock hospital patient's conditions by E. Sewell and J. Holt, c. 300 drawings 101 separate sheets 1849 - 1851. Donated by J E R McDonagh, surgeon to the Lock Hospital 1909 - 1929 in 1959 (Add Mss 210); Watercolours of drawings of London Lock hospital patient's conditions some by J. Sewell, possibly illustrations of J.E.R McDonagh's patients 4 boxes 1890 - 1919; Engravings and drawings of all the buildings occupied by London Lock Hospital.

Wellcome Library - Iconographic Collection: Illustrations of London Lock Hospital.

Publication note:

The London Lock by David Innes Williams (RSM Press) 1995; Short History of the London Lock Hospital and Rescue Home 1746 - 1906 (Lock Hospital) 1906.



Archivist's note: Administrative history based on The London Lock by David Innes Williams (RSM Press) 1995 and Short History of the London Lock Hospital and Rescue Home 1746 - 1906 (London Lock Hospital) 1906. Prepared by Claire Jackson.

Rules or conventions: National Council on Archives, Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997; ISAD(G), Second Edition, 2000.

Date(s) of descriptions: 29 June 2000

Hospital management | Hospitals | Health services
Medical records | Documents | Information sources
Patients | Health services
Venereal diseases | Infectious diseases | Diseases | Pathology
Medical institutions
Primary documents
Social sciences
Social welfare

Personal names
Blair | William | 1766-1822 | surgeon
Bromfeild | James | apothecary to the London Lock Hospital
Bromfeild | William | 1712-1792 | surgeon
Conyers | Richard | d 1749 | physician to the London Lock Hospital
Cotes | Charles | d 1848 | physician to the London Lock Hospital
Lane | J Earnest | 1857-1926 | surgeon
Lane | Samuel | 1802-1892 | surgeon
Madan | Martin | 1726-1790 | author and divine
McDonagh | James Eustace Radcliffe | 1881-1965 | surgeon
Pearson | John | 1758-1826 | surgeon
Rickards | Esther | fl 1925 | surgeon
Sandes | Gladys | fl 1933 | gynaecologist
Shaw | Peter | 1694-1763 | physician and surgeon
Thomas | Noah | d 1792
Williams | Thomas | fl 1806 | surgeon to the London Lock Hospital

Corporate names
London Lock Hospital

London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe