Barts Health Archives

Barts Health Archives

Welcome to our archives

The archives cared for by Barts Health are amongst the largest and most important hospital collections in the UK, with records filling over 2.5km of shelving! We hold records dating from 1137, shortly after the foundation of our oldest hospital, St Bartholomew's, to the current day. They include records relating to staff, patients, buildings and management of the hospitals in the current Barts Health group, as well as numerous other hospitals, institutions, charities, organisations and individuals relating to health care and training in the City and East London. The majority of this material is normally available for research, though some more recent material may be restricted under the Data Protection Act.

Following a period of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be re-opening to research appointments on 18 May 2021. If you wish to visit the archives, please read the information in the ‘Visiting the Archives’ section below carefully. 

Appointments may be booked between 9.30am and 4.00pm, Tuesday to Friday, and must be booked at least one week in advance. Documents must be ordered in advance of your visit. Please note that we have reduced capacity due to social distancing and document quarantine measures, so access to appointments is currently limited. Our re-opening is based on government guidelines, and if these guidelines change, we may need to cancel your booking. Please check this webpage and our Twitter feed for the latest information.

Where possible, we will provide digital copies of records to researchers through our ‘Scan and Supply’ service, rather than arranging an in-person appointment. You can find out more about this service here [pdf].

If you would like to support our work, please consider making a donation to support the work of Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and Museums. Donations are managed through Barts Charity; you can donate via their online form, by specifying that you want your donation to go to the Archives and Museums Fund. For information on how to ensure your donation is credited to the correct fund, please click here.


We are very excited to announce the first in a series of free online talks by researchers who have spent time in the archives exploring the wealth of records we hold. Each session will feature one of our researchers speaking about their research and findings, as well as their experiences of working in the archives. You will have the opportunity to ask questions via the ‘chat’ function at the end of the talk.

The series will be running throughout 2021, with more details to be announced soon. Click through to book for the first two events in the series:


Graft, grace and gratitude: encounters with the Brompton Hospital archive

18.00 GMT, Thursday 10 June 2021

Giskin Day discusses her work on gratitude in healthcare, and the Brompton Hospital archives, held at Barts Health NHS Trust Archives.

Giskin Day is a Principal Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London where she leads on medical humanities, a discipline that explores the cultural contexts of medicine. She is also studying for a PhD in health sciences research at King’s College London on the topic of the expression and reception of gratitude in healthcare.

In her talk she will talk about her experiences working with material from the historic archives of the Royal Brompton Hospital, and the findings of her research so far.


A Better Childhood for All Children: Designing the Modern Space for Sick Children in East London, 1850-1900

18.00 GMT Thursday 29 July

Iria Suárez is a design historian and multidisciplinary designer working within the field of architecture. She graduated from the Royal College of Art and Victoria and Albert Museum with an MA in History of Design. She is interested in design and wellbeing, and her research, which she will be discussing, focuses on the history of the design of children’s hospitals in London.

Her research at Barts Health NHS Trust Archives focused on the collections of two former hospitals, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children and the East London Hospital for Children.


The talks are free to join, but if you would like to support the work of the archives, please consider making a donation to support the work of Barts Health NHS Trust Archives and Museums. Donations are managed through Barts Charity; you can donate via their online form, by specifying that you want your donation to go to the Archives and Museums Fund. For information on how to ensure your donation is credited to the correct fund, please click here.

Searching the archives

Searching the archives

To find out more about our archives, search or browse our online catalogue. We can help and advise researchers, so please contact us with your enquiry.  We aim to be as helpful as possible, but we do not have the staff resources to carry out detailed research for you.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have introduced a temporary 'Scan and Supply' service, to provide digital copies of records to researchers where possible. You can find out more about the service here [pdf] 138KB

What we hold

We hold records of over 35 current and former hospitals as well as many organisations, institutions and individuals associated with the hospitals and with health care and health education in London - over 100 individual collections. You can find a full list of archive collections, with links through to the online catalogue, here [pdf] 782KB

View the locations of the hospitals for which we hold records and click through to our catalogue using the map below:

We are continually adding new material to the catalogue, and undertaking conservation work to ensure that the archives can be accessed now and in the future.

In recent years, generous funding from the Wellcome TrustThe Medical College of St Bartholomew’s Hospital Trust, and Barts Charity has enabled us to add thousands more items to our online catalogue. Read more about our recent projects The Fight Against TuberculosisSTIs in East London in the Twentieth Century, and A Study in Specialism on the project blogs.

Visiting the archives

The archives will re-open to research appointments from Tuesday 18 May. We are committed to re-opening in a way which is safe for both researchers and staff. We have social distancing measures in place, masks must be worn while you are in the building, and all researchers are encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 app and check in on arrival at the archives.

The archives searchroom is situated on the second floor of the North Wing of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, at the east end of the building (this is not a clinical building). The searchroom is accessed via stairs or a lift, situated in the link building which joins the Maggies Barts centre and the North Wing.

  • Access to the searchroom is by prior appointment only. Appointments are subject to availability.
  • Your appointment is for one person only - you must not bring anyone else with you to the building, unless they are acting in a support or carer role. Please let us know if you have any additional access requirements.
  • Requests for appointments should be made at least one week in advance. Same day requests will not be possible. You will need to order your documents for consultation at the time of booking; all documents for the following week must be ordered by 12.30pm on the Friday before. You can search our catalogue online to identify material relevant to your research.
  • Opening hours are 9.30am to 4pm, Tuesday to Friday, with a short closure for lunch between 12:30pm and 1pm.
  • All users must complete a researcher registration form in advance of their visit. Completion of the form indicates agreement to comply with our Regulations for access to the archives [pdf].
  • Please call the archives on arrival, so that a staff member can meet you and direct you to the searchroom. If you are running late, please call us on 020 3465 5798 or email to inform us.

Accessing archives online

You can search catalogue descriptions of nearly 60,000 records online, using our online catalogue. Although the majority of the records listed on the catalogue can currently only be consulted through a visit to the archives, a few collections or series of records have been digitised and can be accessed online, as follows:

A few films from our audio visual collections have been digitised and may be viewed at our YouTube channel, alongside short videos produced by the archives team to highlight items and stories from the collections.

Useful websites