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Invalid Asylum for Respectable Females

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0405 W
Held at: Barts Health NHS Trust Archives (St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives)
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Full title: Invalid Asylum for Respectable Females
Date(s): 1825-1948
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Invalid Asylum for Respectable Females
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Invalid Asylum for Respectable Females was established in 1825 by Miss Mary Lister, (an aunt of Joseph Lister, the founder of antiseptic surgery), to 'afford a temporary Asylum to Respectable Females, employed in shops and in other dependent situations, and Servants, obliged by illness to quit their places'. It was intended to provide nursing and medical attention for those women not ill enough for admittance to a large public hospital, but not well enough to enter a convalescent home. A certificate of good moral conduct was required of each woman before admittance, and patients were subject to strict rules and numerous requirements, including the care of their fellow patients and cleaning of the wards.

The institution altered its name to the Invalid Asylum and Stoke Newington Home Hospital for Women in 1911. By 1916 the establishment was known as the Stoke Newington Home Hospital for Women. It appears that the Invalid Asylum was initially established in Church Street in Stoke Newington. By 1834, the Asylum was housed in a different building to that in which it had begun. This new building was located at 187 High Street, Stoke Newington, and the Asylum remained there until immediately prior to the Second World War. In July and August 1939, the patients were moved to The Firs in Stevenage, the property there having been taken on a lease. In 1944, the Home Hospital bought The Firs, selling their former property in Stoke Newington at the same time.

From its beginning the Invalid Asylum had a physician and surgeon in attendance every working day, and the attendance of a dentist is noted from 1866. In 1826, its first full year, the Asylum treated forty-seven women. By the time of its centenary in 1926, this number had risen to 264. The original purpose had also been extended, with convalescent and maternity cases being admitted. The Invalid Asylum was overseen by a Ladies Committee, and the establishment very quickly gained royal patronage, with Princess Augusta acting as Patroness from 1826 until 1840, when Queen Victoria accepted the role. Queen Victoria served as Patroness of the Invalid Asylum for over 60 years, and the tradition of royal patronage continued right up to the incorporation of the Home into the National Health Service in 1948.


Scope and content/abstract:

Comprises annual reports and prospectuses.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

See Scope and content.

Conditions governing access:


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:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records, 1831-1972, including minute books of various committees, are held by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. Administrative records, 1904-1943, are held by London Metropolitan Archives.

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:
September 2001; updated July 2020.

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