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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 H71/RN
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1938-1996
Level of description: Sub fonds
Extent: 1.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital was created by the formal amalgamation of the Central London Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in Gray's Inn Road and the Hospital for Diseases of the Throat in Golden Square (near Piccadilly Circus) on 1st January 1942. The two hospitals had agreed to merge in 1939, and established a shared Committee of Management, but the formalities were delayed because of the war. The Home Office and Registrar of Companies were approached for permission to name the amalgamated hospital the "Royal National", and this was granted in 1940.

The Goodenough Report on medical education, published in 1944, resulted in the founding of the Institute of Laryngology and Otology (ILO) at Gray's Inn Road. Teaching started in 1945, and in 1949 Professor Frank C Ormerod (1895-1967), formerly an ENT surgeon at Golden Square, was appointed the first chair. The newly formed ILO trained nurses as well as doctors, including some from Hampstead General Hospital. In 1947 the Board of Management of the RNTNE was notified by the Minister for Health that it would become an NHS hospital, and in 1948 it was designated a teaching hospital. Under the terms of the 1946 NHS Act, the hospital had to form a new Board of Governors, and close its facilities for private patients. As the Ministry of Health was now responsible for funding the hospital, the Ladies Association disbanded in about 1949.

After the war, the RNTNE made great progress, partly as a result of the introduction of antibiotics and improvements to anaesthesia. By 1952 the hospital had established departments of Radiology, Physical Medicine, Rhinitis, Radiotherapy, Medicine, Dentistry, Neuro-Surgery, Audiology, Fenestration and Speech Therapy. Plastic Surgery became increasingly important in post-operative restoration of appearance, and both Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Eastman Dental Hospital contributed to this work. Plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes was also developed, and the hospital provided this service to patients on a private basis. Surgeons at the Central London and RNTNE Hospitals had for many years been adapting and inventing instruments suitable for ENT work, and in 1948 a department was established at Gray's Inn Road, specialising in the development of surgical instruments. The new department was staffed by instrument technicians, notably Robert Russell, who served the hospital between 1957 and 1982.

In 1947 the War Veterans' Clinic was converted into a Universal Deafness Aid Clinic, which distributed hearing aids. This clinic developed out of the Hearing Aid Clinic established by Edith Whetnall (1910-1965, author of The Deaf Child) at the Central London Hospital in 1934. As well as running this clinic, Miss Whetnall was responsible for encouraging the RNTNE to build two residential annexes for deaf children. The first of these, which opened in 1952, was built on the site of a convalescent home in Ealing formerly owned by the Central London Throat Nose and Ear Hospital. It aimed to provide newly diagnosed pre-school children with counselling and training to cope with their deafness. The Ministry of Health took over responsibility for the annex in 1957, although the house itself remained the property of the Board of Governors. The second of the two, aimed at children between 4 and 6 years old opened in 1960 with the financial support of the King's Fund. The Nuffield Foundation had been supporting the work of Edith Whetnall since the early 1950s, and in 1963 their financial support enabled her to open the Nuffield Hearing and Speech Centre in a new building erected next to the RNTNE on Swinton Street. She died two years later, and is commemorated by a biennial lecture held in her name at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Under Miss Wade, who was Matron from after the War until 1965, the RNTNE was approved as a nurse training school. More emphasis was placed on professionalism, and by 1951 no girls under the age of 18 were accepted for training. During the 1950s, nursing accommodation was acquired in Upper Berkeley Square and Mecklenburgh Square, a fact which probably helped to maintain recruitment levels at a time when other hospitals were having problems. In 1965 the RNTNE was approved by the GNC for specialist and postgraduate education but not for general nursing training.

Professor Ormerod retired from the Chair of Laryngology & Otology in 1963, and was replaced by Professor Donald Harrison. He spent the next three years assembling material for a museum at the Institute. Following the Flowers Report in 1980, the ILO became part of UCL medical school in 1982. During the NHS reorganisation of 1982, the RNTNE was put under the management of the Bloomsbury District Health Authority. The hospital rejected the opportunity to move into the newly built Royal Free Hospital at Hampstead, but subsequently joined the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust in 1996. In 2011, the RNTNE was transferred to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital including administrative records, nursing, finance, legal and estates records and printed material. The collection reflects the random survival of records from the hospital, the vast majority of records appear to have been destroyed.

Any surviving patient records are held at the RNTNE.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Administration: Committee of Management
Administration: Board of Governors
Administration: Special Committee
Administration: Special Trustees
Administration: Operating Committee
Nursing Records
Legal and estates records
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 is held by the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were transferred along with the Royal Free Hospital and associated collections from the Royal Free Hospital Archives Centre to London Metropolitan Archives in 2013.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in December 2013.

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:
Added May 2014

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