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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H02/AS
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1911-1983
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 2.12 linear metres
Name of creator(s): All Saint's Hospital | 1911-1915 x All Saint's Hospital for Genito-Urinary Diseases | 1916-1946 x Westminster Hospital Urological Centre | 1946-1952


Administrative/Biographical history:

All Saints' Hospital was founded by Edward Canny Ryall in 1911. He decided to establish a specialist hospital to improve what he considered primitive operative methods used to treat kidney and bladder problems. Many of his friends gave him financial assistance and agreed to become members of a Board of Management to organise the hospital. Ryall's wife also gave great encouragement, and suggested that they name the institution after All Saints' Church, Margaret Street, at which they were married.

On 4th December 1911 All Saints' opened at 49 and 51 Vauxhall Bridge Road, with consulting, treatment and waiting rooms, a laboratory, and a dispensary. At first, the hospital provided only for out-patients. However, in 1912 Prime Minister Balfour decided the operation needed by his chauffeur must be performed at All Saints'. So, Edward Ryall's wife rushed out and bought bed and bedding that was installed in an unused upstairs room. The hospital outpatient sister acted as a day-nurse, whilst for a couple of nights the Harley Street butler acted as a night-nurse. The patient recovered and by the end of 1912 All Saints' provided 10 beds and 1 cot for the treatment of in-patients.

During the First World War 20 beds were offered for the treatment of wounded Belgian soldiers and All Saints' was renamed 'All Saints Hospital for Wounded Soldiers'. Following the war, demand for beds at the hospital continued to grow and in 1920 a large house at 91 Finchley Road was purchased and used entirely for in-patients, whilst Vauxhall Bridge Road continued as an out-patient clinic and administrative offices.

In 1926 Edward Ryall published 'Operative Cystoscopy', described by the British Journal of Surgery as a "monumental work quite unique in the annals of British Surgery". In 1932 All Saints' moved to new premises in Austral Street and with 52 beds was the largest hospital in the country devoted solely to urological diseases. Two years later Edward Canny Ryall died. He was a pioneer in his sphere and many of the instruments he designed were still in use as late as the 1970s (sometimes with modifications by others). A team of surgeons continued the work at the hospital. Then during the Second World War All Saints' suffered, as did many London hospitals, with dispersal of patients, removal of equipment and posting of nursing and technical staff to other London areas. In 1940 an out-patient clinic was opened for one day a week, but apart from this the hospital remained closed until 1945. During this time Mr Holland worked as caretaker, air-raid warden and general protector of the fabric of the building.

At the end of the war All Saints' had no money, no staff and no equipment. It did have a battered and derelict building, a team of surgeons and a band of voluntary helpers. Money had to be raised in order to re-open the hospital. The National Bank granted All Saints' an overdraft of twice the value of the building. A rebuilding fund was opened and the bank donated 1000. Radio appeals by Howard Marshall (a war commentator) and Air Marshal Sir Philip Joubert were a further source of revenue. Gifts of equipment, linen, etc. were made by the Red Cross and other organisations. New staff were appointed and the first in-patient for 6 years was admitted on 1 February 1946. An Enuresis Clinic sponsored by the London County Council was opened. However, it was clear that the small institution could not survive in isolation. The overdraft limit was reached, and an extension granted but costs still escalated. The Westminster Hospital came forward and suggested an amalgamation with All Saints'. This was accepted and a 'memorandum of understanding' was signed to take effect on 1 October 1946. Westminster paid all the debts of All Saints', which for 5 years remained the 'Westminster Hospital (All Saints) Urological Centre'.

In 1948 The Westminster Hospital Group was formed under the National Health Service Act. This comprised Westminster Hospital, Gordon Hospital, All Saints' and Westminster Children's all administered from the Westminster. This group formed part of the South West Metropolitan Region of the National Health Service. In 1951 it was decided to reduce the number of urological beds and transfer the gynaecological unit from Westminster Hospital to the first floor of All Saints', called the Amy Bird Ward. In 1959 approval was received from the General Nursing Council for All Saints' to become an addition to the Westminster Nurse's Training School. All Saints' wards were staffed by Westminster student nurses as part of their general training.

Further change came in 1960, when the urological unit was moved to the Gordon Hospital and a year later the psychiatric department took over the vacated Canny Ryall and Frederick Lane wards on the ground floor of All Saints'. In July 1971 the gynaecological department returned to the Westminster from All Saints' and was replaced by a minimal care unit. It had 24 beds and a large sitting room, staffed by 1 sister, 1 staff nurse, two state enrolled nurses and eight nursing auxiliaries. The scheme was a success. In 1974 the North West Thames Regional Health Authority was created and part of this was the Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Area Health Authority (South District), which administered All Saints'. From 1974 onwards there was much talk of closing the hospital. In 1982 All Saints' became part of Riverside Health Authority and closed finally in 1986. The site in Austral Street was acquired by the Imperial War Museum, is now called the All Saints' annexe and houses archives.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of All Saints Hospital, including Board of Management, House and Finance Committee agendas, minutes and papers, 1912-1963; Medical Committee minutes, 1928-1958; Annual reports, 1911-1946; Secretary's reports to House Committee, 1958-1968; Matron's reports, 1945-1968; House visitor's reports, 1914-1968; House surgeon's reports to House Committee, 1955-1962; papers concerning property, 1931-1948; general correspondence, photographs and papers, 1934-1969; admission and discharge register, 1914-1917; operations book, 1963-1966; death register, 1938-1983; staff records, 1919-1939; financial records, 1923-1962; histories of the hospital, 1951-1961; photographs of the interior and exterior of hospital, 1914-1948 and press cuttings, scrapbook, souvenir brochures and programmes, 1914-1939.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as follows: A = Administration, B = Patients' records, C = Staff records, D = Financial records, R = Associations, Y = Related documentation.

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:

AC/75/037, ACC/3438

Allied Materials

Related material:

Anaesthetics registers, 1912 - 1977, can be found at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Archives.

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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