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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H35/NW
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1896-1948
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.9 linear metres
Name of creator(s): North Western Hospital xx Hampstead Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Metropolitan Asylums Board was established in 1867 and soon acquired three sites for infectious diseases hospitals. One of these was near Pond Street, Hampstead, where on 25 January 1870 Hampstead Hospital opened in temporary buildings for the reception of patients suffering from relapsing fever. Nurses were provided by the Anglican Sisters of Saint Margaret, East Grinstead. The hospital closed when this epidemic subsided, but was reopened on 1 December 1870 to admit patients suffering from a particularly virulent form of small pox, which was raging through London. This epidemic had passed by 1873. From 1873 to 1876 Hampstead Hospital was used for the accommodation of mentally handicapped children until the Darenth Schools in Kent were opened by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. Meanwhile permanent smallpox and fever hospitals were being built on the Hampstead site despite vigorous local opposition.

In the autumn of 1876 another epidemic necessitated the use of Hampstead Hospital for the treatment of smallpox again. Hampstead residents brought a series of expensive lawsuits against the Metropolitan Asylums Board to force it to close the hospital or severely restrict its use for smallpox or fever patients. As a result, a Royal Commission appointed to consider these problems in 1881 recommended that smallpox patients should be treated on hospital ships or adjoining riverbanks on isolated parts of the River Thames. Hampstead Hospital (renamed the North Western Hospital) now became entirely a fever hospital, treating mainly cases of diphtheria and scarlet fever. The Metropolitan Asylums Board infectious diseases hospitals were gradually removed from the provisions of the Poor Law, until after 1 January 1892 every citizen of London suffering from infectious disease was legally entitled to admission to an Metropolitan Asylums Board hospital for treatment free of charge.

In 1930 the Hospital was transferred to the management of the London County Council and was administered by the Central Public Health Committee, later the Hospitals and Medical Services Committee. In 1948 the North Western Hospital became part of the National Health Service as one of the Royal Free Hospital Group of teaching hospitals. For a report on the North Western Hospital by King's Fund Visitors in 1956 when it had become an integral part of the Royal Free Hospital see A/KE/737/14. The new Royal Free Hospital was subsequently built on this site.


Scope and content/abstract:

Case registers from the North Western Hospital, Hampstead, 1896-1948, providing the following information - number, date of admission, name, sex, age, address, parish or area, disease certified on admission, disease diagnosed in hospital (except for the 1st register), complications, and date of discharge, transfer or death.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

These records are arranged according to a classification scheme for hospital records: General Hospital Administration (A), Patients' Administration (B), Finance Office (D), Endowments (E), Related Documentation (Y) and Prints and Photographs (PH).

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although under section 5(4) of the 1958 Public Records Act administrative records are closed for 30 years and patient records for 100 years.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright Depositor

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

For records relating to the building and management of the hospital 1868-1930 see the archives of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, especially the minutes of the Hampstead Asylum Committee 1874-1876 (ref. MAB 801, 803), the minutes and presented papers of the North Western Hospital Sub-Committee 1868-1930 (ref. MAB 1013-1038) and reports and papers 1874-1914 (ref. MAB 2411-2422). For minutes of the North Western Hospital Sub-Committee 1930-1948 see LCC/MIN/2573-2575. For an architect's plan and survey of the hospital c.1929 see LCC/AR/CB/3/3. For files on the laboratory, the use of a private road, and air raid damage see LCC/PH/HOSP/3/63-65.

Post 1948 records of the North Western Hospital and nursing records 1887-1949 are now held at the Royal Free Hospital Archives Centre in the care of the Archives Consultant, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG.

Publication note:

For further information see Sir Allan Powell, The Metropolitan Asylums Board and its Work, 1867-1930 and G.M. Ayers England's First State Hospitals 1867-1930.

Description Notes

Archivist's 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

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