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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H24/SLW
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1911-1987
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 5.65 linear metres
Name of creator(s): South London Hospital for Women and Children


Administrative/Biographical history:

The South London Hospital for Women was founded in 1912 "to satisfy two needs - a hospital for those female patients who prefer to be treated by a member of their own sex, and the opportunity for women doctors to train and work as hospital specialists". The inspiration for establishing the hospital came from Miss Maud Chadburn, surgeon to the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Euston Road, the only other general hospital in London where women could be treated entirely by women. Two large houses, Holland House and Kingston House, on the south side of Clapham Common, were purchased. A public appeal in 1912 resulted in an anonymous donation of 53,000 for building the hospital and a further 40,000 to endow it.

The out-patient department opened on 3 April 1913 at 88 and 90 Newington Causeway. Meanwhile Holland House was demolished and building work commenced on the in-patient department at Clapham Common. Temporary accommodation for in-patients was available in a nursing home, which had room for 80 beds.

In 1920 Preston House, which adjoined the south side of the hospital, was purchased and equipped to provide 40 additional surgical beds. This was opened in 1924 by the Duchess of York. In 1927 Kingston House to the north of the hospital was demolished. A new North Wing including an out-patient department was built on the site and completed by 1930. It was designed by Sir Edwin Cooper who also redesigned the front of the hospital. Further building work continued throughout the 1930's, but the opening of the new South Wing and Nurses Home had to be postponed due to the outbreak of war in 1939. In that year the name of the hospital was changed to the South London Hospital for Women and Children.

During the war the hospital was used for casualties, a special Act of Parliament enabling it to admit male patients. The hospital escaped serious damage by bombing, though its normal work was severely limited. The loan of a house in Chislehurst provided invaluable 35 beds where patients could receive medical treatment or recover from operations. This was replaced after the war by Woodhurst at Peas Pottage near Crawley, which became the country annexe of the South London Hospital from 1948 until 1970.

A 20 bed maternity unit was due to open at the South London Hospital in 1944, when owing to the danger from flying bombs it was evacuated to Scarborough. The maternity unit finally opened a few months later. A large house in Nightingale Lane was converted into a 30 bed post-maternity home. It was opened by the Queen in May 1948 and named the Queen Elizabeth Maternity Home. The hospital purchased Preston Lodge, which adjoined the hospital gardens, as a home for district midwives.

With the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, the South London Hospital lost its independence becoming one of the Lambeth Group of Hospitals under the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. In 1964 the Lambeth Group ceased to exist. Control of the South London Hospital passed to the newly formed South West London Group Hospital Management Committee. In 1974 it became part of the Wandsworth and East Merton Health District of the Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority.

Queen Elizabeth Maternity Home had by 1975 become Queen Elizabeth House, a pre-convalescent home. In 1982 further reorganisation of the NHS transferred responsibility for the South London Hospital to Wandsworth Health Authority. The hospital closed in 1984.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the South London Hospital for Women and Children, 1911-1987, including board of management and various other committee minutes; Lambeth Group Hospital Management Committee minutes; South West London Group Hospital Management Committee minutes; annual reports; constitution and laws; correspondence; papers relating to building including tenders, plans and designs; fund raising and publicity files; nursing and staff records; photographs of the exterior and interior of the Hospital, staff, special occasions and events; Hospital magazines; programmes for events; scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings; histories of the Hospital including a dissertation on the architectural history of the South London Hospital, with copies of plans and photographs of original hospital buildings and photographs of hospital in 1978.

Patient records comprise a radiographic register, 1916-1921 and baptism registers, 1973-1983. Later clinical records are believed to have been destroyed.

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:

Records transferred to the Greater London Record Office on 6 May 1987 (Acc/2422) and 25 June 1987 (Acc/2445).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Other records held at the London Metropolitan Archives relating to the South London Hospital are papers concerning the case of the Public Trustee v The South London Hospital for Women and others regarding the will of Constance Edith Guerrier 1928 (ref.: H06/BG/F/01/001-006) and King's Fund reports and papers 1912-1966 (ref.: A/KE/258/15, A/KE/275, A/KE/534/3, A/KE/547/3, A/KE/735/35, A/KE/738/36 and A/KE/738/66).

Twentieth century staff records can be found at Lambeth Archives Department, Minet Library, 52 Knatchbull Road, London. Case books 1912 - 1933 are in the care of the Wandsworth Health Authority at Saint George's Hospital.

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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