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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H43
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1913-1964
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 1.15 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Saint Alfege's Hospital x Greenwich Union Workhouse Infirmary


Administrative/Biographical history:

Saint Alfege's hospital was established as the Greenwich Union Workhouse Infirmary. The Greenwich and Deptford Union Workhouse was built on a four-acre site on the south side of the Woolwich road. The complex was designed to house a total of 650 fit and 200 sick paupers but by 1851 the average weekly number of inmates had increased to over 1,000. As the numbers of poor in need of medical attention increased it became necessary to add an infirmary to the workhouse. The Board of Guardians added a new 400-bed infirmary block, the foundation stone was laid in 1874, and the Infirmary opened in 1876.

By 1885 two new buildings for the chronically sick had been started and in 1889 a further two new ward blocks with provision for 250 beds were approved. Conditions in the infirmary were spartan and there was no operating theatre or table. In 1898 the infirmary was approved as a Training School for Nurses, taking some 40 - 50 trainees. The plans of the Greenwich and Deptford Union Workhouse and Infirmary were presented at the Great Paris Exhibition of 1900 as a demonstration of what was being done in Britain for relief of the poor.

Between 1918 and 1929 gradual improvements were made to conditions in the infirmary - walls were plastered, electric lighting and central heating installed and x-ray and massage departments set up. In 1927 The Woodlands Nurses' Residence was opened by Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles in November and in 1928 a new operating theatre was opened; in 1929 when the Poor Law Authorities were disbanded the workhouse system was abandoned, leaving Greenwich with two hospitals, one for the acute and the other for the chronic sick, on the workhouse site. In 1930 the London County Council took over the administration of the infirmary and renamed it St. Alfege's Hospital after the saint who was murdered by the Danes at Greenwich.

In 1948 St. Alfege's Hospital became part of the National Health Service and was administered by the South East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. In 1960 the Regional Hospital Board issued a directive that the distinction between the two St. Alfege's Hospitals was to be abolished and that they should merge to become one comprehensive general hospital of 605 beds. In May 1963, the Minister of Health gave a Press Conference at which details of the new Greenwich District hospital were released. In 1972 St. Alfege's Hospital was replaced by Greenwich District Hospital.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Saint Alfege's Hospital including Medical Staff Committee minutes, 1958-1964, a report on the use and condition of the buildings with particular reference to demolition and reconstruction, by the Regional Architect for the Greenwich and Deptford Hospital Management Committee, 1957; operations registers, 1938-1939 and nurses' registers, 1913-1961.

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:

ACC/3718, B99/004

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

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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