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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0100 G
Held at: King's College London College Archives
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Date(s): 1755-1992
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
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Extent: approximately 40 linear metres of volumes (c 1000), papers, photographs and vinyl records
Name of creator(s): Guy's Hospital Medical School
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Guy's Hospital was founded by Thomas Guy, a bookseller and publisher in London who made a large fortune from his business and investments. Guy had become a Governor of St Thomas's Hospital in 1704, and proved an active and generous benefactor. He became a close friend of Richard Mead, Physician to St Thomas's Hospital, and a strong influence on Guy to use his wealth to build a new hospital. Guy was particularly interested in the needs of 'incurables' discharged from St Thomas's still weak and ill and unable to earn a living. His new hospital was intended to help such people, and so he looked for a site close to St Thomas's. In 1721 he was granted a lease of land within the close of St Thomas's Hospital by the Hospital Governors. The land was on the south side of St Thomas's Street and the houses occupying the site were demolished by the end of 1721. The foundations of the building were laid in 1722 and the hospital was opened on 6th January 1726, a year after the death of Thomas Guy. It had accommodation for 435 patients, and 60 were admitted on opening. In accordance with wishes expressed in Guy's will, an Act of Parliament was passed in 1725, establishing the Corporation of Governors for Guy's Hospital. The Governors administered the estates acquired by the hospital and managed the hospital through a committee (the Court of Committees) of twenty-one men named by Guy, including four doctors. The management of the two hospitals was at first closely associated, with Guy's regarded as an annexe or extension to Thomas's. All the arrangements and procedures at St Thomas's were adopted by Guy's, and there were also some joint Governors.

Until the early nineteenth century students at Guy's Hospital were required to serve an apprenticehip of five to seven years, and then 'walk the hospital' as a surgeon's dresser or physician's pupil for six to twelve months. Apprentices, pupils and dressers all attended courses of lectures on anatomy, surgery, midwifery, medicine and chemistry. Teaching was a joint undertaking with nearby St Thomas's Hospital, the two being known as the United Hospitals of the Borough. Students attended operations and lectures at both hospitals. The wards were formally opened to students in 1769 by a Governors' resolution, and marked the beginning of the official union of the schools of the two hospitals. The resolution of the Governors gave an official stamp of approval to existing arrangements, and also proposed that the surgeons of the hospital should occasionally give practical lessons on surgery to the pupils.

In 1770 the Governor's started to build the first lecture theatre attached to Guy's Hospital. Dr Saunders lectured there three times a week on chemistry, materia medica and the practice of medicine. Henry Cline the elder (1750-1827) was the first lecturer to attract a large number of pupils and establish a school of anatomy and surgery at St Thomas's. When the School of the United Hospitals came into existence, St Thomas's delivered the anatomical and surgical lectures, which were those most in demand and for which all pupils were prepared to pay fees. Guy's established courses in medicine, chemistry, botany, physiology and natural philosophy. The pupils were apprentices whose masters had instructed them in physic, and went to the hospital for 6 months to a year to complete their training.

Between 1768 and 1825, during the existence of the School of the United Hospitals, Guy's students attended lectures at St Thomas's or private establishments such as the Windmill Street School. A disagreement with St Thomas's over the appointment of a successor to Sir Astley Cooper as Lecturer in Surgery and Anatomy led to the establishment of an independent medical school at Guy's in 1825. The Governors agreed to erect more buildings for the School, and a large lecture theatre (the Anatomical theatre), museum and dissecting room were built. New hospital wards were built and opened in 1831, and special beds were set aside under the care of the Lecturers of the School for Midwifery and Diseases of Women. An Eye infirmary was also established in a nearby house.

In 1835 the curriculum was increased so as to cover a period of three winter and two summer sessions. Until 1849 there was little real clinical teaching by the medical school. Students' appointments were reorganised in 1849 and clinical teaching time was increased. In 1846 the Medical School introduced a common fee for all students, and the Medical Examining Council, later known as the Medical Council, was established to select which students should become dressers, clinical clerks, assistants and resident obstetric clerks. Guy's Medical School was the first to initiate such a system, and other schools soon followed.

A new dissecting room was built in 1850, with the old room used to enlarge the museum. Two small class rooms were added, one for the use of microscopical anatomy. Practical work was at first confined to clinical subjects and anatomy. Demonstrations in practical chemistry were first held in 1852, and in 1862 classes on the use of the microscope began. The classes gradually evolved into practical histology, and were taken over by the Physiology Department in 1871. Practical classes in botany, comparative anatomy and morbid histology appeared in the school prospectus a little later. A classroom for practical chemistry was added in 1871, and in 1873 the dissecting room was enlarged and additional classrooms provided for histology. A Residential College (Guy's Hospital College) was opened in 1890 by William Gladstone, after the number of resident posts was increased in 1888.

The Dental School was founded in 1889, and was an offshoot of the medical school. A course of dental surgery was given by Thomas Bell, Surgeon Dentist to the Hospital, and Mr Salter in 1855. The first lectures at Guy's on dental surgery were given by Joseph Fox in 1799 with the assistance of Astley Cooper. Frederick Newland-Pedley, who became dental surgeon to Guy's in 1887, campaigned for the establishment of a dental school attached to the Hospital. With the support of the Dean the School Meeting appointed a committee in 1888 which drew up a scheme approved by the Hospital Governors, and the school was opened in 1889. New school buildings to house the Dental School and the departments of physics, chemistry and bacteriology were opened in 1893. The number of students and variety of courses soon meant that the dental school outgrew its premises, and between 1909 and 1911 accommodation in the new outpatients' building and in the medical school was fitted and equipped. The school (as part of Guy's Hospital Medical School) was recognised as a school of the University of London in 1900, and a Board of Studies in Dentistry was formed in 1901. The Board drew up a curriculum and established a degree of Bachelor in Dental Surgery. A department of radiology was established in the Dental School in 1913, and in 1920 the first Dental Sub-Dean was appointed. Chairs were established in Dental Prosthetics in 1935, in Dental Surgery in 1938 and in Dental Medicine in 1946. A clinic for the treatment of chronic periodontal disease was founded by F S Warner, later becoming the Department of Preventative Dentistry.

A fifth year was added to the medical curriculum in 1892, and was an important factor leading to the rebuilding of the Medical School. Between 1896 and 1922 a new building was constructed to house the physiology department, a lectureship in experimental pathology was endowed and a new laboratory equipped. The Pathological Department was also refitted, a new library and museum were built and the school buildings were extended to take in the new departments of anatomy and biology. Sir Cosmo O Bonsor became Treasurer of the Hospital in 1896, and took a keen interest in the medical school, which received several important benefactions.

In 1925 a Board of Governors was created and made responsible directly to the Court, and a School Council established to take responsibility for the administration of the school and policy. In 1934 the Medical Research Committee offered to establish and maintain a Clinical Research Unit at Guy's, which was accepted. On the outbreak of the second world war the pre-clinical departments of the school were transferred to Tunbridge Wells, where a mansion was leased and adapted. The school returned to Guy's in 1944. The first women students at Guy's were admitted in 1947, following the Goodenough Report. Twelve were admitted.

On the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948 the Medical School became a separate legal entity from the Hospital. The Medical Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals reunited as the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals (UMDS) in 1982. The new institution was then enlarged by the amalgamation of the Royal Dental Hospital of London School of Dental Surgery with Guy's Dental School on 1 August 1983 and the addition on the Institute of Dermatology on 1 August 1985. In 1990 King's College London began discussions with the United Schools and, following formal agreement to merge in 1992 and the King's College London Act 1997, the formal merger with UMDS took place on 1 August 1998. The merger created three new schools: the Guy's, King's and St Thomas' Schools of Medicine, of Dentistry and of Biomedical Sciences, and reconfigured part of the former School of Life, Basic Medical & Health Sciences as the new School of Health & Life Sciences.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Guy's Hospital Medical School, 1755-1992, comprising records of Committees, 1852-1985, notably minutes of the School Governors, later Council of Governors, 1925-1982; minutes and papers of the Finance Committee, 1903-1982; minutes of the School Council, later Academic Board, 1925-1982; minutes of Guy's Hospital Medical (Examining) Council, 1852-1989; minutes and papers of the Dental Committee, later Dental Council, 1889-1982; minutes of Dental School committees, 1912-1982;

adminstrative records, [1880-1986], including an 'Act for Incorporating the Executors of the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Guy and Guy's Hospital Act, 1898'; scheme of management for the Medical and Dental Schools, [1930]; University Grants Committee returns, 1930/31-1950/51; papers and correspondence files relating to finance, committees, trust funds, school buildings and student accommodation, 1880s-1980s; papers concerning prize funds, 1850-1935;

financial records, notably Medical School and College balance sheets and statements of receipts and payments, 1893-1938; auditors' accounts, 1881-1930; general ledgers, 1883-1976; departmental ledgers, 1953-1976; fee ledgers, 1873-1935; Dental School fee ledgers, 1896-1925; journals, 1890-1939, 1971-1976; salaries and wages records, 1835-1975;

clinical and surgical records, 1823-1982, including patient registers for Guy's Hospital, 1809-1847; indexes of surgical cases, 1865-1899; individual patient records, 1929, 1959-1960, 1982; diaries of House surgeons and physicians of Guy's Hospital, 1869-1904;

student records, 1725-1992, notably pupil entry registers and books, 1725, 1755-1879 (including students at Guy's Hospital, 1755-1833); student entry lists, 1870-1934; student registers, 1876-1992;

records of Lectureships, Scholarships, prizes and examinations, 1891-1985, comprising minutes of Board of Electors to lectureships, scholarships and fellowships, 1891-1954; lists of entrants and winners of Medical and Dental School Prizes, 1900-1974; Dental School voluntary examination prizes, 1892-1985;

essays written by Guy's Hospital Medical School students for prizes, 1844-1915;

records of the Guy's Hospital Medical School Clubs' Union and Students' Union, 1881-1984, notably Council minutes 1891-1973, with related papers; minutes of constituent societies, 1881-1984, including the Football Club, Cricket Club, Pavy Gymnasium, Students' Club and Dental Society; financial records, 1891-1977; Guy's Hospital Clubs' Union Year Books, 1892-1928; handbooks, 1931, 1961-1970; recordings of songs from Guy's Residents' plays, 1933-1961;

records of societies of Guy's Hospital and Medical School, 1775-1963, comprising records of the Physical Society of Guy's Hospital, 1775-1851; records of the Physical Society of the Students of the United Hospitals of St Thomas and Guy, 1812-1815; records of the Pupil's Physical Society of Guy's Hospital, 1830-1948; general reports of Guy's Society for Clinical Reports, 1836-1845; records of the Physiological Society of Guy's Hospital, 1955-1963; minutes of Guy's '89 Club, 1896-1938; records of the Guyites Club and Junior Guyites Club of Guy's Hospital, 1845-1959; records of Guy's Hospital Medical Research Club, 1913-1923; records of the Dental Society of Guy's Hospital, 1894-[1955]; records of 'The Most Distinguished Order of Clinicals' of Guy's Hospital, 1889-1939;

photographs, [1850s-1981], of the hospital and medical school interior and exterior scenes; group and individual photographs of students, residents, physicians, surgeons, nurses, and patients; prints and illustrations of Guy's Hospital Medical School, [1647-1970];

records relating to Guy's Hospital Medical School College, 1888-1982, including minutes and papers of Guy's Hospital College Committee, 1888-1982; financial records, 1888-1976; vinyl disc recordings and printed programmes of Guy's Hospital Residents' Theatricals, 1905-1965;

records of Guy's Hospital Catering Company Limited, 1926-1981, including memorandum and articles of association, 1926; minutes of Directors' meetings, 1926-1980; reports and accounts, 1927-1980;

prospectuses, handbooks, reports and directories, 1846-1996, notably Medical School prospectuses, 1846-1985; Dental School prospectuses, 1899-1981; United Medical and Dental Schools prospectuses, 1983-1995; Guy's Hospital Medical School calendars, 1900-1914; Guy's Hospital Directory, later Guy's Medical Directory, 1922-1961, 1986; Guy's Hospital annual reports, 1922, 1957, 1967, 1984-1985; regulations and handbooks, 1874-1996;

records relating to Guy's Hospital Reports, 1856-1985, including records of the Advisory Committee, 1907-1921; records of the Editorial Committee, 1922-1974; correspondence of the editor, 1856-1922; financial records, 1932-1977; copies of Guy's Hospital Reports, 1893, 1913-1972 (incomplete series);

copies of Guy's Hospital Gazette, 1872-1996 (incomplete); copy of the Guyscope, Guy's Hospital satirical magazine, 1920; copies of the Tablet, Guy's Hospital Medical School students' magazine, 1977-1980.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive and Corporate Record Services.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogues are available in the reading room of the College Archives.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Generated by the Guy's Hospital Medical School in the course of business, with some records presented to the library by private individuals.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from Guy's Hospital Medical School Library in 2002.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records of Guy's Hospital, 1617-1989, including adminstrative and patient records, are held by London Metropolitan Archives; petitions for admission from the poor of St George the Martyr parish, Southwark, 1776-1816, held by Southwark Local Studies Library; administrative records, 1974-1996, held by Guy's Hospital; title deeds, manorial records, estate papers and legal papers, 1380-20th cent (reference: D/DGh) and estate records, c1625-1945, held by Essex Record Office; deeds 1670-1938, manorial records 1570-1935, estate papers 18th-20th cent, estate maps and plans, 1852-1863, are held by Herefordshire Record Office (reference: C/99, AW28); title deeds and papers relating to Sutton Bridge estate, 1800-1999, held by Lincolnshire Archives (reference: GUYS HOSPITAL); private papers relating to the hospital, 1889-1895 and case notes, 1810-1811 (reference: MS 5267) are held by the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine: Archives and Manuscripts.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Mr Guy's Hospital 1726-1948 H C Cameron (Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1954); Guy's Hospital 1725-1948 edited by Hujohn A Ripman (Guy's Hospital Gazette Committee, 1951); 'History of Guy's Hospital' by Sir William Hale-White in Guy's Hospital Gazette, 1925; Biographical History of Guy's Hospital Samuel Wilks and G T Bettany (Ward, Lock, Bowden and Co, London, 1892). Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

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:
April 2002; revised January 2003

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