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Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H25/NH
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1907-1963
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): National Heart Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

The hospital was founded in 1857 at 67 Margaret Street by Dr Eldridge Spratt. It was known by various titles including the Hospital for Diseases of the Heart. In about 1869 it moved to 85 Newman Street, Oxford Street and by 1872 it had adopted the name of 'The National Hospital for the special treatment of Paralysis, Epilepsy, Nervousness, and the Primary Stages of Insanity and other Diseases arising from Affectations of the Heart'. In 1874 the hospital moved again to 32 Soho Square. By 1876 its name had been shortened to the National Hospital for Diseases of the Heart and Paralysis; the last two words were subsequently dropped. In 1913 the hospital moved to purpose built premises in Westmoreland Street. It was the first hospital in the world to be dedicated to the treatment of patients with cardio-vascular disease and the first to introduce postgraduate medical training.

In the 1960s it became internationally famous with the rapid developments then in all forms of cardiology and cardiac surgery. Among many national and international medical firsts, it was responsible for pioneering new surgical techniques in the treatment of congenital heart disease as well as advances in the development of pacing and electrophysiology, and the first successful coronary angioplasty and coronary stent implantation in the UK.

On 3 May 1968 the Hospital performed the nation's first heart swap on Fred West. Although he only survived for 46 days, the medical experience gained played a vital role in the development of the procedure which has since gone on to benefit hundreds of chronically-ill patients in the UK, many of whom have survived their operations for ten years and more.

The National Heart Hospital developed strong links with the Brompton Hospital and in 1988 the two hospitals were amalgamated on a single site. In 1991 the hospital closed and services were moved to the newly constructed wing of the Brompton Hospital.

The hospital subsequently fell into disuse and stood empty for some years until being acquired by Gleneagles Hotels UK for the Singapore based Parkway Group Healthcare, and ran as a private Heart Hospital. In 1999 the hospital was purchased by the government for use as a new NHS National Heart Hospital.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the National Heart Hospital, consisting of a sample of the case files kept by the physicians of the hospital between 1907 and 1963 and photographs taken by Dr John Mathias Senior Registrar of the first heart transplant in the United Kingdom in 1968.

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), Miscellaneous items (Y) and Prints and Photographs (Z).

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:

Deposited in 1987 and 2013

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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