Priceless artifacts from throughout the history of our east London hospitals are in safe hands after our archives service secured national accreditation.
Archive Service Accreditation is the gold standard for historical collections in the UK. It considers how collections are conserved, developed and made available to researchers and members of the public.
The archives cared for by Barts Health are amongst the largest and most important hospital collections in the country and includes records from over 30 current and former hospitals in the City and east London. Among this treasure trove are the first governors' minutes from a meeting in 1740 at the Feathers Tavern, Cheapside, which led to the founding of the London Infirmary, now the Royal London Hospital.
There is the builders' specification for West Ham Union Infirmary, now Whipps Cross Hospital, from 1900, and photographs of the Nursing Sisters of St John the Divine attending births in the East End which became the real-life inspiration for Call the Midwife.
The oldest document in the archives dates from 1137 and the team is still preserving digital and paper records of the Trust today for the future.
The service recently celebrated one year since its move into a new space on the ground floor of the Kenton and Lucas block at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
The move, from the Trust’s former premises at Prescot Street in 2020, saw the careful transfer of thousands of historic records and objects across almost a miles worth of shelves.
NHS staff, students and members of the public – from academics to family historians – can consult material from the collections in the dedicated search room space.
Receiving the certificate from the UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee, Trust lead archivist Kate Jarman (pictured right, below) said: “This is fantastic achievement after several years of significant service change. It’s particularly special to achieve this in time for St Bartholomew’s Hospital’s 900th anniversary and the 75th birthday of the NHS.”
To mark St Bartholomew’s official birthday this week, the archives service is hosting an open day for all Trust staff and volunteers between 11-2pm on Friday 24 March in Kenton and Lucas (entrance C).
Items from across 900 years of St Bartholomew’s Hospital will be on display and there is no need to book.