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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 H71/CW
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1933-2000
Level of description: Sub fonds
Extent: 10 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Coppetts Wood Hospital


Administrative/Biographical history:

Coppetts Wood Hospital was an Isolation Hospital in Muswell Hill, North London, built in 1889 by the Hornsey Local Board of Health. It originally took patients from Hornsey alone, suffering from a variety of infectious fevers, but by the 1920s was also treating patients from Finchley and Wood Green. During World War Two it was used as temporary accommodation for St Bartholemew's Hospital, and a few patient case notes survive from this time. After the institution of the National Health Service in 1948 Coppetts Wood became part of the Northern Group of Hospitals, and joined the Royal Free Group in 1968.

In 1955, after being threatened with closure, Coppetts Wood started a programme of modernisation in the wake of traditional fevers becoming increasingly curable, and remained at the forefront of research and cutting edge treatment into infectious diseases throughout its history, eventually gaining renown for its high-security unit used in treating diseases such as rabies and lassa fever.

In 1963, the infectious disease beds at the Lawn Road Branch of the Royal Free Hospital were transferred to Coppetts Wood and the two infectious disease services were amalgamated. Coppetts Wood finally closed in 2000, when all its services except the high-security unit were transferred to the Royal Free. The high-security unit is to be kept open and staffed by Royal Free staff as the need arises.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Coppetts Wood Hospital, 1933-2000, comprising:
Administrative Records, notably staff files, c1960-1969; correspondence with the Ministry of Health on notifications of smallpox cases, 1960-1970; minutes and circulars of the North London Group of Hospitals, 1962-1968; Public Health Laboratory Bulletins, 1962-1968; Camden Borough Health Committee minutes, 1967-1969; Royal Free Hospital and Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine committee and sub-committee papers

Patient Records including Patient and Ward Registers, 1930s-1980s; case notes, 1936-1947, 1967-1968; Death Register, 1933-1968; case notes of surgical patients from St Bartholomew's Hospital, treated at Coppetts Wood, 1939; Discharge Registers, 1951-1952, 1956-1957; microfilms of patient records and index cards, c1935-2000; patient statistics, 1957; patient lists, 1969

Personal papers of Dr A Melvin Ramsay, comprising lecture notes and typescripts of articles on infectious diseases, c1960-1970 and papers on the outbreak of 'Royal Free Hospital Disease', 1955, one of the earliest documented outbreaks of ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Personal papers of Dr Hillas Smith, comprising correspondence on articles on infectious diseases, and correspondence with drug firms; c1960-1970.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Papers arranged according to accession.

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 majority of the records in this collection were transferred from the hospital in two separate accessions, in 1999 and 2000, when the hospital was nearing closure. However, a number of record series had been transferred in the early 1990s: no details of the transfer have survived. The records were transferred along with the rest of the Royal Free Hospital and associated collections from the archives centre to London Metropolitan Archives in 2013.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in December 2013

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records of St Bartholomew's Hospital are held by St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives and Museum, North Wing, St Bartholomew's Hospital, West Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE

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, contains material on the other hospitals in the Royal Free Group.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Created Feb 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, 2001. National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Created 12 Feb 2001, revised Nov 2001 and May 2014.

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