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Archives in London and the M25 area

North-Western Fever Hospital

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 H71/NWF
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: North-Western Fever Hospital
Date(s): 1887-1972
Level of description: Sub fonds
Extent: 2 linear metres
Name of creator(s): North-Western Fever Hospital
Royal Free Hospital, Lawn Road Branch


Administrative/Biographical history:

The North-Western Fever Hospital, Lawn Road, Hampstead, was founded in 1870 as the Hampstead Smallpox Hospital. However, owing to pressure from local residents smallpox patients were removed from metropolitan areas shortly afterwards, and the hospital became the North-Western Fever Hospital, managed by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. The main buildings of the hospital were built in 1892, set in large grounds.

The hospital was in great demand during the frequent outbreaks of diseases such as polio in the first half of the twentieth century, and one ward was used by patients in iron lungs. In 1944, when the Goodenough Report set guidelines for the optimal number of beds that should be available to provide a proper training for medical students, the Dean of the London School of Medicine for Women, Katharine Lloyd-Williams, approached the London County Council about the possibility of allowing students access to North-Western Fever Hospital beds to augment the number of cases already available to them at the Royal Free Hospital in Gray's Inn Road.

The Hospital joined Royal Free Hospital Group on the inception of the National Health Service in 1948, and was renamed the Lawn Road or North-Western Branch of the Royal Free Hospital. As fever cases declined in Britain, the remaining infectious disease beds were transferred to Coppetts Wood Hospital in 1963, and the Lawn Road branch of the RFH became used for general cases. Throughout the 1960s the branch achieved worldwide recognition as the place where the first kidney transplants were performed, and also the hospital which pioneered home dialysis. When the Royal Free was rebuilt in Hampstead, the land on which the North-Western Fever Hospital had stood was used, and the remaining parts of the old building were demolished in 1973. The 'new' Royal Free still has a 'Lawn Road' Division, dealing with surgery, communicable diseases, renal services, and therapy services.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the North-Western Fever Hospital (NWFH), (later the Lawn Road or North-Western Branch of the Royal Free Hospital), 1887-1972, comprising: Nursing Staff Registers, containing service records for nurses and ward orderlies, 1887-1951; Nurse training records, for probationer and student nurses trained at NWFH, 1937-1946; Domestic Staff Registers, containing service records for domestic staff, including housekeeping, laundry and catering staff, 1887-1923.
Royal Free Hospital, Lawn Road (or North Western) Branch: In-patient Registers, 1965-1972; Patients Property Register, 1944-1962; Joint Consultative Staff Committee minutes, 1951-1954.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records are arranged according to originating department or committee.

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 in this collection come from diverse sources, most with provenance unrecorded. However, it is clear that some administrative records were transferred to the Archive at the time the buildings were demolished in 1974, and many of the patient records were transferred to Coppetts Wood when that hospital took over responsibility for fever cases in the 1960s. The records were transferred along with the rest of 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:

The majority of records in this collection are nursing records. Most administrative and patient records dating from before the Hospital became part of the Royal Free Group in 1948, can be found under reference H35/NW. Administrative records relating to Lawn Road are integrated into the Royal Free Hospital archive collection under reference H71/RF. There are also some patient case notes, and photographs, from the Lawn Road renal unit in the Royal Free Hospital collection.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

An Illustrated History of the Royal Free Hospital by Lynne A Amidon, published by the Special Trustees of the Royal Free Hospital, London, 1996.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled Jan 2001, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM 25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), 2nd edition, 1999 and National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Created 15 Mar 2001, revised Nov 2001 and May 2014.

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