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Archives in London and the M25 area

London Chest Hospital

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0387 LC
Held at: Royal London Hospital
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Full title: London Chest Hospital
Date(s): 1848-2009
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): London Chest Hospital
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London Chest Hospital was founded in 1848 as the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest. Its founders, who were predominately Quakers, recognised the needs of people suffering from diseases of the heart and lungs, particularly pulmonary tuberculosis, who were not able to afford adequate medical attention. The institution was intended to offer the same advantages as the Brompton Hospital (established in 1842) conferred on West London. The Royal Chest Hospital, City Road, (founded in 1814), was perceived as too small to accommodate the growing number of patients in the north and east of London seeking care.

The Hospital was originally a public dispensary, offering out-patient care only in Liverpool. Plans were soon drawn up for a new hospital and a site was obtained through the lease of crown property at Bonners Fields, Victoria Park, East London. In 1851 the foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert, who together with Queen Victoria, contributed towards the building costs of thirty thousand pounds. The new hospital, designed by Mr Ordish, opened in 1855 and was soon able to provide 80 beds. By 1881 the original design had been completed to provide 164 beds and was one of the first to employ the corridor system. Patients were admitted on governors' recommendation and were asked to contribute towards the cost of their care. With the development of the open air treatment for tuberculosis, balconies were added to the building in 1900, and the Hospital opened its own Sanatorium for women and children at Saunderton in Buckinghamshire. In 1923 it was renamed the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Heart and Lungs, before changing again in 1937 to the London Chest Hospital. A Pathological Laboratory and Research Institute opened in 1927 through the support of the Prudential Assurance Company, and in 1937 a new surgical wing was added. Hospital buildings were badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War, but remained open thanks to public generosity in funding repairs.

The London Chest Hospital became part of the National Health Service in 1948 and was designated a teaching hospital, along with Brompton Hospital. The Board of Governors was reconstituted to cover both hospitals, with membership increased from 20 to 30. The Hospital became part of a Special Health Authority, the National Chest and Heart Hospitals (with the National Heart, the Brompton and Frimley Hospitals) in 1974. The Hospital expanded its work to take in 4 chest clinics in East London, and its cardiothoracic surgery also grew with the opening of new theatres and intensive care facilities during the 1980s. In 1988 the Hospital shared in the award of a `Royal' title to the Brompton Group. In line with government recommendations following the publication of the Tomlinson Report in 1982 the Hospital joined St Bartholomew's and the Royal London Hospitals to form the Royal Hospitals NHS Trust in April 1994.


Scope and content/abstract:

Administrative records, deeds, financial records, patient records, nursing records, photographs, pharmacy records, surveyor's records and papers, photographs and paintings from unofficial sources.

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:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from the London Chest Hospital at various dates.

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.

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