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Archives in London and the M25 area

Plaistow Maternity Hospital

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0387 PM
Held at: Barts Health NHS Trust Archives (Royal London Hospital Archives)
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Full title: Plaistow Maternity Hospital
Date(s): 1890-1971
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Plaistow Maternity Hospital
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Plaistow Maternity Hospital was founded in 1889 by Miss Katherine Twining (who became its first Matron), as St Mary's District Nurses' Home, Plaistow. The aim of the Home was to provide midwifery and nursing support for the inhabitants of South West Ham in their own homes. In 1894 the charity purchased 17 and 19 Howard's Road, which formed the basis of the District Nurses' Home. In the same year a Midwifery Training School and District Nursing Training School was opened. One of the stated aims of the Charity was to specifically instruct women for nursing work in villages and cottages.

In 1895 a Committee of Management was formed, and further land was purchased in Howard's Road which allowed the premises to be extended in 1898. In 1901 branch homes were established at the Docks, Stratford and East Ham, and in 1904 a further branch home opened at Barking. The acquisition of 24 and 26 Howard's Road in 1904 allowed for 12 in-patient beds, which increased to 20 in 1911 with the acquisition of no 28. Chesterton House was purchased in 1915 as a centre for ante natal, post natal and infant welfare activities. The in-patient accommodation was replaced by a new building at Chesterton Road, Plaistow with 36 maternity and 4 general beds, opened by Queen Mary in 1923. The name of the charity was changed in 1926 to Plaistow Maternity Hospital.

In 1938 the Central Midwives Board divided the midwifery examinations into two parts, and Plaistow Maternity Hospital was one of only a few hospitals to be recognised for parts I and II. The District Nursing Branch at East Ham was transferred to East Ham District Nursing Association in 1940. During the Second World War, the In-patient Department was evacuated to Suntrap, High Beech, Loughton, Essex. During the same period the Ministry of Health Emergency Maternity Hospital at East Haddon Hall, Northampton was staffed by Plaistow Maternity Hospital. The Hospital building and its branch homes were damaged by bombing during World War II.

The Hospital became part of the National Health service in 1948, at which time the District Home at Barking transferred to the control of Essex County Council. In 1976 the City and East London Area Health Authority (Teaching), following responses to its consultative document `Towards a changed pattern of health care', agreed to close Plaistow Maternity Hospital. Its services were transferred to Forest Gate Hospital, pending the building of a new nucleus hospital for Newham. Newham General Hospital phase 2, which included maternity provision, opened in 1985 and Forest Gate Hospital closed.


Scope and content/abstract:

Administrative records, financial records, patient records, nursing and midwifery training 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:

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.

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