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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H19/SM
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1879-1986
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 3.33 linear metres
Name of creator(s): St Matthew's Hospital x Holborn and Finsbury Workhouse | 1870-1916 x Holborn and Finsbury Institution | 1916-1936


Administrative/Biographical history:

Saint Matthew's Hospital was built in 1873 as City Road Workhouse by Holborn Board of Guardians on the site of Saint Luke's Workhouse. The Holborn Union had recently been enlarged by the addition of the parishes of Saint James and Saint John, Clerkenwell and Saint Luke, Old Street in 1869. The workhouse, which was situated at the corner of City Road and Shepherdess Walk within the parish of Shoreditch, was extended in both 1892 and 1894. By 1930 when it was taken over by the London County Council, it had become known as Holborn and Finsbury Institution. The London County Council decided to use it as a hospital for the care of the chronic sick and renamed it Saint Matthew's Hospital in 1936. On 1 October 1937 it was appropriated as a hospital for the treatment of the sick and removed from the Poor Law. By 1938 it had 627 beds.

On 8 October 1940 Saint Matthew's Hospital received a direct hit from a high explosive bomb, which killed many patients and some members of staff and destroyed part of the old south ward block. The surviving patients were evacuated on 10 and 11 October. The creed register contains a list of the hospitals to which the patients were evacuated. The Hospital remained closed until November 1942. It was again closed between August 1944 and July 1945.;In 1948 Saint Matthew's Hospital became part of the National Health Service as one of the Central Group of Hospitals of the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. In February 1952 visitors from the King Edward's Hospital Fund for London described Saint Matthew's as 'a dump for the chronic sick, the buildings being no less antiquated than those of Saint Leonard's or Bethnal Green, patients still being accommodated in great 40-bedded wards' (A/KE/735/9). Between 1948 and 1954 great efforts were made to improve conditions in the hospital and to rehabilitate and discharge patients whenever possible. In 1960 it was reported that the momentum had not been maintained. Saint Matthew's was by then a 320-bed hospital for the care of geriatric and chronic sick patients. The south west block was still standing empty; the war damage only partially repaired (H19/SM/A/03/002/12).

In 1974 Saint Matthew's Hospital became part of Tower Hamlets Health District (Teaching) of the City and East London Area Heath Authority. The hospital closed in 1986.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Saint Matthew's Hospital, including committee minutes, 1942-1965; annual reports, 1950-1960; steward's and secretary's records, 1943-1961; inventories, 1930-1938; plans, 1960; admission and discharge registers, 1879-1986; creed registers, 1935-1940; death registers, 1939-1986; registers of lunatics, 1922-1924; registers of children detained in the institution, 1914-1931; registers of nursing and domestic staff, 1930-1958; nurse personnel files, 1925-1948 and nurse's prizegiving programmes, 1958-1969.

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), Related Documentation (Y) and Prints and Photographs (PH).

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:

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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