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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H02/WH
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1627-1974
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 41.35 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Westminster Hospital x Westminster Infirmary for the Sick and Needy | 1720 - 1770


Administrative/Biographical history:

At Saint Dunstan's Coffee House in 1715 four men met to form "A Charitable Proposal for Reliving the Poor and Needy and Other Distressed Persons." The men were Henry Hoare, William Wogan, Robert Witham and Patrick Cockburn, and the proposal marked the beginnings of the first voluntary hospital in the country, the Westminster Hospital.

The first patient was received in May 1720, in a rented house in Petty France. After moves to larger rented premises in 1724 and 1732, a building fund was launched and a new hospital built in Broad Sanctuary. The building was completed in 1832. A nurses' training school was set up in 1873, and a medical school constructed in Caxton Street, in 1885.

In 1913 plans were drawn up to amalgamate the Westminster Hospital with Saint George's Hospital, an institution created in 1733 by ex-Westminster Hospital surgeons. It was proposed that the new combined hospital would move to purpose-built premises either in Clapham or Wandsworth. World War I and the opposition of the House Committee meant this idea never came to fruition.

In 1933 plans were set in motion for the purchase of a new site in Saint John's Gardens, in order to build larger premises for the hospital. The new building was opened by George VI in April 1939.

Chartham Park Convalescent Home (H02/CP) was presented to the hospital by I.D. Margary in May 1946 and this was followed by affiliations with other institutions - All Saints Hospital for genito-urinary medicine, Austral Street (H02/AS) in July 1946; The Infants Hospital, Vincent Square which was renamed the Westminster Children's Hospital (H02/WCH) in September 1946; Parkwood Convalescent Home, Swanley, Kent (H01/PCH) in September 1946; Yarrow Convalescent Home, Broadstairs, Kent (H02/YH) in May 1947; The Gordon Hospital, formerly the Western Hospital for Fistula, Piles and Other Diseases of the Rectum, Vauxhall Bridge Road (H02/GH) in 1948.

The Wolfson School of Nursing was opened in 1960, funded by The Wolfson Trust. Also in 1960 the Westminster Hospital acquired Queen Mary's Hospital for limbless ex-servicemen (H02/QM). In 1971 Putney Hospital joined the Westminster Group and became closely linked with Queen Mary's Hospital.

An extension to the Westminster Hospital was built in Page Street between 1964 and 1968, which was linked to the existing hospital by a tunnel. A proposal in 1968 that the 12 London teaching hospitals should be grouped in pairs and linked to the nearest university, ended in the Westminster Hospital forging links with Saint Thomas' Hospital (H01/ST) and King's College London.

From the advent of the National Health Service in 1948 the Westminster Hospital Group was part of the South West Metropolitan Region. In 1974 the hospitals were part of the Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster Area Health Authority South District in the North West Thames Regional Health Authority. The district was administered in 3 sectors, whose main hospitals were: Westminster Hospital, Saint John's Gardens - where medical training was based, Saint Stephen's on Fulham Road in Chelsea - the district's other major acute hospital, and Banstead in Surrey - where the main in-patient psychiatric services were provided.

In 1982 the 90 area health authorities were replaced with 192 district health authorities. In west London the Victoria Heath Authority was created, which administered the Westminster, Westminster Children's, Saint Stephen's, Saint Mary Abbots, All Saints and the Gordon Hospitals.

In 1980 the Flowers report had recommended the amalgamation of some of the London medical schools. In 1984 Westminster Medical School merged with Charing Cross Medical School to form the Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School.

In April 1985, Riverside District Health Authority was created as part of the North West Thames Region. It merged Victoria Health Authority and Hammersmith and Fulham Health Authority. A district management team was responsible for Westminster, Westminster Children's, Saint Stephen's, West London Hospitals and two mental health hospitals, Horton and Banstead. By the summer of 1987 the long term strategy was to close Westminster Hospital, Saint Stephen's, Westminster Children's, Saint Mary Abbots and West London Hospital. The plan was to demolish Saint Stephen's and build the new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on the same site on Fulham Road. A two year consultation process followed. In 1989 Saint Stephen's closed and patients and staff moved to Westminster Hospital while the Chelsea and Westminster was being built.

In May 1993 the Westminster Hospital closed and moved into the new building at 369 Fulham Road, occupying the site of the old Saint Stephen's Hospital. Staff and services were brought together from five major hospitals: the Westminster, Westminster Children's, West London, Saint Mary Abbots and Saint Stephen's. In April 1994 Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust was established, and is based at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Westminster Hospital, including minutes of the management, estates, finance, nursing, research, policy, catering, almoners, incurables, drugs and other committees, 1716-1969; relevant Acts of Parliament, 1835-1932; rules and regulations, 1835-1932; annual, matron's and secretary's reports, 1825-1971; papers concerning proposed amalgamations with other hospitals, 1907-1924; papers regarding non-nursing staff, 1749-1962; papers and photographs concerning ceremonies and celebrations, 1948-1967; administrative files on a variety of subjects including staffing, policy, research, legal proceedings, training, civil defence, World War Two, pathological services, pharmaceutical services, catering, equipment and wards, 1939-1969; registers of in-patients, 1933-1973; registers of patients, 1937-1958; registers of police and ambulance cases, 1937-1962; admission and discharge registers, 1961-1973; death registers, 1860-1967; operations books, 1939-1968; prescription book, 1733-1734; returns of cholera patients, 1849-1854; returns of patients, 1928-1963; Venereal Disease department registers, 1917-1974; registers of nurses, 1885-1950; Westminster Training School registers of nurses, 1899-1939; financial records and papers relating to endowments, 1719-1969; legal records, including deeds, 1881-1961; chaplain's records, 1790 and 1921-1973; medical school papers, 1822-1972 (not including student records); plans and architect's drawings, 1832-1937; papers relating to hospital societies and associations, 1848-1972; histories of the hospital, 1815-1974; press cuttings, 1921-1964; papers concerning special events, 1823-1973; papers concerning rebuilding of hospital, 1818-1939; Hospital publications, 1922-1974; newspaper articles, 1834-1966; Westminster street plans, 1809-1895 and conveyance of property in Little Oulde Bayliffe, parish of Saint Sepulchre, London, 1627.

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, F = Legal records, G = Chaplain's records, MS = Medical School, P = Plans and Architects drawings, R = Associations, 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:

Material received in multiple accessions from 1969 onwards.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Surrey History Centre: general and estates papers, 1871-1874; Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine: casebooks of Sir Stanford Cade (radiotherapy); tape and transcript of oral history interview with colleagues of Cade in the Radiotherapy Dept, 1993, with photos and cartoon of Cade, c. 1940s-1966; Royal College of Surgeons of England: clinical and patient records, 1802-1818; City of Westminster Archives Centre: general papers, 1719-1733; Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Archives: administrative papers, 1800-1990.

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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