AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Forest Gate Hospital

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0387 FG
Held at: Barts Health NHS Trust Archives (Royal London Hospital Archives)
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Forest Gate Hospital
Date(s): 1913-1986
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 6 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Forest Gate Hospital
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Forest Gate Hospital was established in 1913 by the West Ham Board of Guardians, as the Forest Gate Sick Home. Accommodation was provided for the chronic sick, together with 50 mentally handicapped adults and 25 mentally handicapped children, including epileptics. Some maternity patients were also admitted and their numbers grew steadily. The buildings originally housed an Industrial School established by the Guardians of the Poor of the Whitechapel Union in 1854. In 1869, management of the School was transferred to the Board of Management of the Forest Gate Schools District (comprising Hackney, Poplar and Whitechapel Unions). A disastrous fire in 1890 caused the deaths of 20 of the 84 resident boys. Poplar Union took over management of the School in 1897, and it continued as an industrial training school until its closure in 1906. In 1908 it reopened as a branch workhouse for the Poplar Union, but closed again in 1911.

The buildings were purchased in 1912 by the West Ham Board of Guardians, and the Forest Gate Sick Home opened in 1913. Under the Local Government Act, 1929, the Sick Home was transferred in 1930 to the County Borough of West Ham Public Assistance Committee. By 1930, the Hospital had 550 beds for chronic sick and mentally handicapped patients, including a Maternity Unit which was opened with 64 lying-in beds. In 1931 temporary buildings were erected to provide an additional 200 beds for chronic sick patients transferred from the Central Homes, bringing the bed complement up to 723. During the Second World War, patients were evacuated to the South Ockendon Colony, Essex. Much of the accommodation for non-maternity patients at the Hospital was destroyed by bombing, including 2 direct hits which necessitated the demolition of 5 wards. In view of this and the unsuitability of some of the accommodation, the bed compliment was reduced to 201. In 1944 management of the Hospital was transferred to the Public Health Committee of West Ham County Borough. By 1945, accommodation for 128 residents patients had reopened and the building of a new Maternity Unit with 102 beds began in 1947.

The Hospital became part of the National Health Service in 1948, and management was transferred to the Regional Hospitals Board. The Maternity Unit was expanded into a number of existing wards. In 1974, the Hospital, which by now had 116 beds and was called Newham Maternity Hospital, became part of Newham Health District under the City and East London Area Health Authority (Teaching). With the opening in 1985 of Phase 2 of Newham General Hospital, which included Maternity beds and a Special Care Baby Unit, the Hospital was closed by Newham Health Authority.


Scope and content/abstract:

Administrative records, Chaplaincy records, financial records and patient records.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

See Scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Some material is restricted. Please contact the repository in the first instance.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copying and digitisation services are available for unrestricted material. Researchers should contact the repository in the first instance.

Finding aids:

See 'Detailed catalogue' link above.

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were deposited with the London Borough of Newham Leisure Services by Newham Health Authority on the closure of the Hospital in 1985.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from Stratford Local Studies Library by the Director of Leisure Services, London Borough of Newham in 1997.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Originally compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Updated by Clare Button, Archivist, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London.

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:
June 2001, updated April 2020.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"