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! Unfortunately, the archives are currently closed to researchers; for more information, please see the section on the Temporary closure of the archives under 'Visiting the Archives' below. We hope to be able to welcome researchers again from 2021.

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.

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.

Please note that the remote enquiry service will be suspended from Friday 28 August until Monday 4 January 2021 due to the move of our service from one of our two current archive sites, and we will not be able to accept donations of records to the archives during this period. Unless your enquiry relates to statutory access or current clinical treatments and investigations), it will NOT be put in a queue; please contact us again from January 2021. We will not be able to accept donations of records to the archives between the end of August and January 2021.

It is not currently possible to visit the archives to undertake research in person due to restrictions around Covid-19. For more information, please see 'Visiting the archives' section below.

What we hold

We hold records of over 30 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. You can find a full list of hospitals and summary of other significant collections here.

View the locations of these hospitals 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

Temporary closure of the archives

The archives are normally open to researchers by appointment. However, it is not currently possibly to make an appointment to access the archives in person. This is to minimise the risk to staff and researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst  preparing the collections at one of our two current sites for a building move later this year.

After 15 years in its current location, we will be moving out of our site at 9 Prescot Street in November 2020, due to the expiry of the lease. Unfortunately our new archive premises will not be ready to move into this year, and so we are currently preparing our collections to move into secure storage offsite for the interim period until the new archives space is complete.

We will be closed to new archive enquiries from Friday 28 August 2020, until Monday 4 January 2021. This will allow us to focus on preparing the collections at Prescot Street for the move to their temporary home, delivering the move and preparing for new access arrangements. We will not be able to respond to enquiries received after the end of August (except for statutory enquiries and those relating to current clinical treatments and investigations), until we reopen to new enquiries in January 2021. If your enquiry does not fall into one of these categories, it will NOT be put in a queue; please contact us again from January 2021. We will not be able to accept donations of records to the archives between the end of August and January 2021.

Details of the new public access arrangements for all Barts Health archive collections are currently being developed, in line with public health guidance on Covid-19. We look forward to being able to share our collections with researchers again in 2021, once they are safely stored at their temporary new home. If you would like to be kept informed about the archives move and updated access arrangements for Barts Health NHS Trust Archives, please contact us and ask to be added to our move mailing list.

For more details on arrangements for the move and future access arrangements, please see our frequently asked questions 293KB.

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