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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): H29/SJ
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1872-1987
Level of description: subfonds
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Extent: 3.25 linear metres
Name of creator(s): St John's Hospital x Wandsworth and Clapham Union Infirmary | 1870 - 1919 x St John's Hill Infirmary x Saint John's Day Hospital and Chest Clinic x Saint John's Health Care Unit


Administrative/Biographical history:

Saint John's Hill Workhouse was in use from the formation of Wandsworth and Clapham Poor Law Union in 1836. In 1870 an infirmary was constructed on an adjoining site. In the 1880's Wandsworth Board of Guardians built a new workhouse in Swaffield Road. From the opening of Swaffield Road Workhouse, all the buildings on the Saint John's Hill site were used as part of the infirmary. Additions and improvements were made gradually, including the construction of a nurses' home in 1899.

Saint John's Hill Infirmary was superseded as a general hospital by Saint James' Hospital, Balham, which was opened by Wandsworth Board of Guardians in 1911. From that date Saint John's was used mainly for the care of the chronic sick. On the eve of the transfer of the hospital to the London County Council in 1930, the LCC Architects Department reported that Saint John's Hospital had 637 beds mostly used for the chronic sick. A few urgent maternity cases were dealt with without a 'labour' room. Operations of a minor character only were carried out, those of a dangerous nature being undertaken at Saint James' Hospital.

In 1948 Saint John's Hospital became part of the National Health Service. It was administered by Battersea and Putney Group Hospital Management Committee and the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. Visitors from King's Edward's Hospital Fund for London reported in 1953 that the hospital had 480 beds of which 255 were allocated to female chronics, 120 to male chronics, 53 to tubercular patients, and 52 were in the observation ward. 212 patients were permanently bedridden, some of whom had been transferred from Saint Pancras Hospital. The hospital had in its care 27 young chronic patients aged between 18 and 50. Two wards in the old workhouse building were still in use. The infirmary building provided much better wards. The Observation ward was only partly used for patients admitted for observation; the remaining patients were suffering from senile dementia and were long stay cases. Battersea Chest Clinic had been set up in the Old Board Room to replace the Borough TB dispensary which had been destroyed during the war.

In 1958 a new physician superintendent, Dr L.V. Sthyr, was appointed, together with a new hospital secretary and a new matron. The Group Secretary, Mr R.W. Batten, stated in an appeal to the King's Fund in 1959 'Progress at Saint John's was very slow for years but now that we have a new Physician Superintendent and Consultant Geriatrician, Matron and Hospital Secretary a dramatic change has occurred. It is now an extremely active geriatric hospital and the turnover has increased considerably.' (A/KE/735/2).

On 1 July 1964 the Battersea and Putney Group Hospital management Committee amalgamated with Tooting Bec Hospital Management Committee. From 1 April 1972 to 31 March 1974 Saint John's Hospital formed part of the Westminster Hospital Group. As a result of the 1974 reorganisations of the National Health Service Saint John's became part of the Roehampton Health District of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority (Teaching). In the 1970's Block F of the hospital bordering Saint John's Hill was demolished. Between 1977 and 1978 Saint John's Day Hospital and Chest Clinic were built on the site.

In 1982 Saint John's Hospital became the responsibility of Richmond, Twickenham and Roehampton Health Authority. In 1988, by then known as Saint John's Health Care Unit, it was transferred to Wandsworth Health Authority. The Hospital closed in 1990.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Saint John's Hospital, Battersea, 1872-1987, including medical advisory committee minutes, reports, agreements, plans, admission and discharge registers, creed rgisters, registers of births, deaths, operations, case books, dental surgeon's registers, physiotherapy registers, tuberculosis notifications, mental health admissions, register of mechanical restraints, registers of nurses and domestic staf, registers of staff leaving, pupil nurses, and photographs of the hospital and special occasions.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as follows: A - Administration, B - Patient's Records, C - Staff Records, PH - Photographs.

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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