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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H02/PY
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1903 - 1978
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 4.05 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Putney Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

Mr Henry Chester of Putney who died in 1900 left about eighty thousand pounds in his will to endow a hospital if a general hospital was built in the parish of Putney within 20 years of his death. If no such hospital was built, the money was to go to Guy's. He appointed the Haberdashers' Company as trustees of his will with the responsibility of approving any site proposed for a hospital.

The doctors of Putney and the Putney Municipal Alliance were in favour of building a hospital in Putney and a committee was formed. A freehold site on Lower Common formerly occupied by two houses, The Elms and West Lodge, was purchased by Sir William Lancaster and was subsequently given by him to the Hospital Trustees. In 1905 a public meeting of the inhabitants of Putney elected a Building Committee to raise twenty thousand pounds to erect and equip the first block of the hospital which would provide 20 beds for inpatients.

In January 1906 a joint meeting of the Richmond, Chelsea and Wandsworth Divisions of the British Medical Association decided to oppose the building of a large general hospital in Putney. The South West London Medical Hospital Committee was established to negotiate with the Putney Hospital Committee on the basis that a small general hospital on cottage hospital lines would meet the needs of Putney, there should be no treatment of out-patients, the number of non-paying beds should not be greater than the needs of the district or the resources of the endowment, and there should be directly elected representatives of the medical profession on the hospital's committee. Until agreement was reached, no medical man should have anything to do with the hospital.

Protracted and heated negotiations followed, with the two medical members of the Putney Hospital Committee, Dr John Guy and Mr E.F. White, defending the need for a hospital, protesting the initial support of the doctors of Putney as opposed to the wider area as represented by the British Medical Association, and affirming that there was no intention to establish a large general hospital or to treat out-patients. Eventually agreement was reached which allowed for a quarter of the Board of management of Putney Hospital to consist of medical men elected by and from the medical practitioners residing in and practising in Putney. However, a judgement by Mr Justice Joyce insisted that Putney hospital had to establish an out-patients department if it was to be a general hospital. The hospital finally admitted its first inpatients and out-patients in 1912.

Between 1926 and 1939 the hospital was enlarged with new wings to the north and south of the original building containing male and female wards, rooms for paying patients, a new out-patients department and a new operating theatre. A nurses' home was built in 1934 and extended a few years later. Further extensions and improvements were prevented by the outbreak of war. On 14 August 1944 the nurses' home was struck by a flying bomb. Fortunately no-one was injured, but the whole of the 2nd floor of the new wing and part of the 2nd floor of the original building had to be demolished, and a temporary roof erected.

In 1948 Putney Hospital became part of the National Health Service as one of the Battersea and Putney Group of Hospitals of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. Visitors from King Edward's Hospital Fund for London reported in 1953 that Putney Hospital had 106 beds, including 14 private beds which were constantly full, and 7 amenity beds, which were less in demand. They commented on the beds in the wards being very close together, "The last extension to this hospital was made in 1933. Since then the population round had grown enormously and is still growing fast." There was an immediate need for extending the out-patients department "which must be one of the smallest in any general hospital". By 1956 a scheme was in hand to extend Putney hospital to provide a new out-patients department and increase the number of beds to 178. Despite the problems of overcrowding King's Fund Visitors in that year described Putney as a first class hospital.

Between 1959 and 1961 existing buildings were upgraded and the hospital was extended with two new wards, Mackenzie Morris Ward and Sydney Turner Ward, opening in 1961 and 1962. A new casualty department opened in 1960 and a new out-patients department was opened in November 1961. Stage II of the development of Putney Hospital had been planned, but it was first deferred then abandoned. A new hospital plan envisaged the closure of Putney Hospital by 1971 as well as Battersea General Hospital, and the redevelopment of Saint John's Hospital in Battersea. In 1998 it was planned that Putney Hospital, part of Richmond, Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust, be closed and its services transferred to Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton. By 2001 the hospital was part of South West London Community NHS Trust specialising in care of the elderly. The hospital was finally closed early in 2002.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Putney Hospital including Putney Hospital Committee minutes and papers, 1905-1910; Board of Management minutes, 1923-1948; minutes of various other Hospital committees including the House, Finance, Medical, Appeal and Building Committees, 1909-1948; annual reports, 1912-1948; rules and regulations, 1912-1947; correspondence and papers relating to founding of hospital, 1903-1927; papers concerning fundraising, 1925-1945; plans, specifications and drawings for proposed building work, 1910-1962; registers of patients, 1935-1978; admissions registers, 1948-1972; daily and monthly patient statistics, 1964-1974; casualty registers, 1964-1976; ward report books, 1965-1972; Matron's report book, 1959-1968; register of nursing staff and salaries book, 1912-1937; Training school prospectuses and lecture notes, 1958-1959; South West London Area Matron's Committee agendas and minutes, 1948-1955; financial records, 1911-1945; photographs, 1935; histories of the hospital, 1908-1934 and newspaper cuttings, 1930-1935.

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, E = Endowments, PH = Photographs, Y = Related Documentation.

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:

AC/71/071, ACC/2152/2, B06/010

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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