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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H01/L
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1869-1980
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 38.9 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Renfrew Road Workhouse | 1871-1922 x Lambeth Infirmary | 1876-1922 x Lambeth Hospital | 1922-1964


Administrative/Biographical history:

Lambeth Hospital had its origins in two institutions both built and administered by Lambeth Board of Guardians. These were Renfrew Road Workhouse opened in 1871 and Lambeth Infirmary, opened in 1876 on an adjoining site, but with its main entrance in Brook Drive. By 1922 the Lambeth Guardians had an excess of accommodation for the able bodied poor and too little for the sick. Consequently they amalgamated the two institutions under the control of the medical superintendent and matron of the infirmary, which was renamed Lambeth Hospital. The Hospital now provided the following services and facilities - a lying-in ward (until 1922 accommodated in Renfrew Road Workhouse), an antenatal clinic, VD wards, two large observation wards, two weekly sessions by an ophthalmic surgeon, a pathological laboratory and radium and deep x-ray apparatus. The Lambeth Guardians not only purchased the necessary equipment, but also sent Dr George Stebbing on a tour of European capitals to study radiotherapy.

As a result of the 1929 Local Government Act, from 1930 Lambeth Hospital came under the control of the London County Council. The LCC sought to create an integrated hospital service for London, concentrating certain specialised departments in particular hospitals. Lambeth Hospital lost its observation wards, but the development of the Radiotherapy department was encouraged. Mr Stebbing was appointed Surgeon specialist and Medical Officer in charge of the radiotherapy department. A Cardio-Vascular Unit was formed at Lambeth Hospital under the direction of Lord Dawson of Penn with Mr Lawrence O'Shaughnessy and Dr H.E.M. Mansell as medical officers. In the early 1930's a Uterine Cancer Unit was transferred from the North Western Hospital to Lambeth Hospital with its Medical Director, Sir Comyns Berkeley, and Mr Arnold Walker. A few years later Mr Stebbing absorbed the unit into the Radiotherapy Department. The LCC built a Nurses' Home in 1936, provided a new Maternity Block in 1938, and completed a Pathology Block in 1940.

By 1939 Lambeth Hospital could accommodate 1,250 patients and was one of the three largest municipal hospitals in London. During the Second World War many air raid casualties were treated at the hospital, from which elderly, long term patients had been evacuated. Several bombs fell on the hospital killing ten members of staff and destroying two ward blocks, the kitchen, dining rooms and laundry. Three other ward blocks were badly damaged.

In 1948 Lambeth Hospital became part of the National Health Service administered by the South Western Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. It formed part of the Lambeth Group of hospitals, together with the South Western Hospital, South London Hospital for Women and Children, Annie McCall Maternity Hospital and from 1956, the Royal Eye Hospital. Money for the repair and replacement of war damaged buildings was, at first, scarce, but between 1960 and 1962 a new two storey block containing kitchens, dining rooms, and offices was constructed. In July 1964 the Lambeth Group of hospitals was dissolved. Lambeth Hospital became part of the Saint Thomas' Hospital Group, and then from 1974, part of the Saint Thomas' Health District (Teaching). In 1970 Lambeth Hospital was an acute, general hospital with 468 beds. A new twin operating theatre block had been completed in 1967 and a new Renal Unit opened in 1969. The hospital closed in 1976 on the opening of the new North Wing of Saint Thomas' Hospital. On part of the site of the hospital in Monkton Street, the Lambeth Community Care Centre was completed in 1985.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Lambeth Hospital, including inventories and stock books, 1933-1955; Medical Officers' report books, 1911-1923; Visitors' report book, 1928-1948; Chaplains' and organist's report and attendance books, 1911-1939; House Committee minute books, 1948-1969; Medical Staff Advisory Committee minute books, 1957-1976; Pharmaceutical Advisory Sub-Committee minute book, 1954-1966; Staff Consultative Committees minutes and papers, 1949-1976; plan of the Renfrew Road Workhouse, [1800s] and plan of Lambeth Hospital, 1929 with 1939 alterations.

Patient records including admission and discharge books, 1877 and 1899-1932; creed registers, 1878-1933; combined admission and discharge and creed registers, 1932-1948; registers of births, 1914-1948; registers of deaths, 1869-1947; burial books, 1890-1929; mortuary registers, 1935-1964; registers of patients under treatment, 1900-1910; index registers of patients, 1928-1951; records of lunatics, 1889-1931; registers of patients admitted under three day Lunacy Orders, 1919-1931; registers of mechanical restraint of lunatics, 1895-1927; registers of medical outdoor relief, 1908-1915; registers of maternity in-patients, 1927-1930 and 1951-1961; register of tuberculosis patients, 1950-1975; case books, 1912-1949 and registers of operations, 1927-1929.

Also Matron's letter books, 1913-1934; prospectuses and photographs of the Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, [1963]-1974; cash books, 1943-1949; newspaper cuttings, 1949-1964; histories, [1951]- 1975; photographs of pathologists Dr J.A. Braxton-Hicks, Dr J.R. Perdrau and Dr D. Stark Murray, [1916]-1935; photographs of padded cells, 1967 and photographs of gatehouses, [1980].

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), Matron's Office and Schools of Nursing and Midwifery (C), Financial Records (D), Miscellaneous (Y) and Photographs (Z). Additional records were inserted into the relevant section of the list when they were deposited.

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

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The main part of the archives of Lambeth Hospital were transferred to the Greater London Records Office on 20th December 1967. Additional records have been transferred between 1985 and 1991 (Acc 2207, Acc 2258, Acc 2294, Acc 2684, Acc 2901 and Acc 2931).

Allied Materials

Related material:

The London Metropolitan Archives also has in its care the archives of Lambeth Board of Guardians, the London County Council, Lambeth Group Hospital Management Committee, St Thomas' Hospital, St Thomas' Health District (Teaching), West Lambeth Health Authority and King Edward's Hospital Fund for London, which all include records relating to Lambeth Hospital. For photographs of wards, chapel, administrative block of workhouse and staff c 1906-1945 see F/WAL/14-21 (papers and photographs collected by Nora Wallis, matron).

Some general administrative records (1912-1938) can be found in the Archives section of the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.

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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