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.

Archive appointments may be booked between 9.30am and 4pm, Tuesday to Friday, and must be booked at least one week in advance. Documents must be ordered in advance of your visit. 

For more information on what to expect when you visit, please read the ‘Visiting the Archives’ section below carefully before contacting us to book an appointment. It is possible that we may have to cancel or reschedule your appointment at short notice due to staff absence or changing public health guidance, so 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 Information on the Scan and Supply services [pdf] 371KB. Please note that responses to enquiries requiring access to original material may be subject to delay due to the current public health situation.

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. Please click here to donate.

Projects and Events

Current projects

We are delighted to have received support from Barts Charity for the Whipps Cross Voices project, starting in spring 2022, in collaboration with the Whipps Cross Redevelopment team. 

Whipps Cross Hospital has been at the heart of the local community for more than a century, providing healthcare through many challenging periods, up to the current pandemic. This is a time of significant change for the hospital, as it moves forward with exciting plans for a new hospital, with more clinical space, able to provide more care on the same day and provide a better experience for patients and staff. It is also an ideal opportunity to capture and preserve histories of the current hospital and its people.

Whipps Cross Voices provides an opportunity for local people, staff and patients to share their thoughts, feelings and memories about Whipps Cross Hospital. We want to capture stories about the hospital from staff and patients, past and present, and preserve them as a historical resource for the future.We’ll be adding new oral histories to the collections and making stories of the hospital accessible in new ways in the Trust Archives and on the hospital site.

What does Whipps Cross Hospital mean to you? We’re looking for volunteers to get involved. If you’re interested in taking part and sharing your memories, learning new skills working with historical collections, or donating your own collections to the archives, please contact us to express an interest. You can find out more about the project plans and getting involved from the recording of the project launch, which was held on 30 March 2022, or come along o one of our project events.

Our first project event is on Wednesday 22nd June. Drop-in to the Whipps Cross Hospital canteen anytime from 11.30 to 2.30 to meet us in person, take a look at displays from the archives and tell us your stories. There will be a chance to share information with us and we’ll also be making short voice recordings. Don’t worry if you can’t make this date though, we will be doing it again on 19th July and again in the autumn. We will be adding news and photo galleries to the project website soon so head over to whippscrossvoices.com to take a look. 

Talks

We do not have any upcoming talks. However, you can view recordings of talks from our 2021 online researcher talks series on our YouTube channel , as well as other video content relating to our collections and to the history and heritage of our hospitals.

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 '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

Barts Health NHS Trust Archives is located in a hospital building. As a non-clinical space, there is no requirement to wear a face covering or practice social distancing in the archives, but masks must continue to be worn in all hospital corridors and public areas linking clinical spaces, including areas neighbouring the archives. Please also be mindful that we are located on a hospital site and respect the personal choices of others who may wish to continue to wear a mask, and observe the appropriate guidance on other areas of the hospital site. Please do not visit the archives if you are experiencing any symptoms of infectious illness eg Covid-19 or norovirus. 

The archives searchroom is located on the ground floor of the Kenton and Lucas Block at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, accessed using entrance Kenton and Lucas entrance C. 

  • Access to the searchroom is by prior appointment only. Appointments are subject to availability.
  • Appointments are usually for one person only except by prior arrangement. Please let us know if you will be accompanied by someone acting in a support or carer role or 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]
  • On arrival, please ring the doorbell for the Archives (opposite the door at entrance C) on arrival, so that a staff member can let you in. If you are running late, please call us on 020 3465 7608 or email to inform us.

Accessing archives and archival datasets online

You can search catalogue descriptions of over 70,000 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, afew 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.

The Historic Hospital Admission Records Project (HHARP) is an online database of admission records for four historic children's hospitals, including the Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease, records of which are held in our collections. The database of admissions for the Alexandra Hospital covers inpatient admissions for the years 1867-1895  The website also features articles on aspects of the hospital’s history, and short biographies of medical staff. Registration is necessary to access the full contents, but is free of charge.

Useful websites