These materials span the 17th-21st century, though most deal with individuals and hospitals from the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the archives are:
- early examples of medical case notes
- details about hospital departments
- personal accounts of hospital life, from both patient and staff perspectives.
Generally excluded from this selection are materials such as medical students' lecture notes and admission tickets, or testimonials of individuals applying for posts.
Psychiatric hospitals are covered in more detail in the mental health and psychiatry guide
Looking for National Health Service records? The Wellcome Library does not hold any records from NHS hospitals; please see our guide to Finding medical records elsewhere for more information about hospital records.
Read more about featured collections
British Medical Association papers
An extensive archive of files from c. 1915-1960, which include various issues concerning doctors in hospitals. Full catalogue description of the archive.
The Patients’ Association archive
The Association monitors services and patient care in both NHS and private hospitals. The archive also covers issues affecting patients such as hygiene, standards of nursing care, the doctor-patient relationship. Full catalogue description of the archive.
British Health Care Arts Centre archive
The Centre encouraged the development of the arts in hospitals and other institutions from 1984-93. Full catalogue description of the archive.
Archives sources guides
Our archivists have compiled extensive lists of material relating to hospitals in the United Kingdom and beyond.
These in-depth sources guides provide access to the detailed information held in the Archives and Manuscripts catalogue. From here you may also request material from closed stores for viewing in the Library.
Hospitals in London
Hospitals in the rest of the UK and Ireland
Military and naval hospitals
Hospitals outside the UK
Hospitals: policy and history
How to order material
All of the items in the Library's Archives and Manuscripts Collection must be requested from the closed stores for viewing in the Rare Materials Room. Find out more about request and delivery services.
To contact the Collections team, email email@example.com or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8899 during Library opening hours.