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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
Created 1562-1999 (King's College Hospital began creating records when it was founded in 1839. However, the collection contains a series of title deeds and schedules dating from 1562).
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
210 m3


Name of creator(s)

King's College Hospital

Administrative / Biographical history

In 1839 the Council of King's College London was persuaded by Robert Bentley Todd (1809-1860), a physician at the College, to lease a disused workhouse in Portugal Street near Lincoln's Inn Fields and the Royal College of Surgeons, and convert it for use as a hospital. This was the first King's College Hospital and it opened in 1840. Its purpose was to provide King's College medical students with a place in the near vicinity of the College where they could receive instruction by their own professors. The Council of King's College London became the supreme governing body of the Hospital, largely through a Board of Governors, with the right to appoint all medical staff. A Committee of Management undertook the day to day administration and appointed lay officers. The Sisterhood of St John the Evangelist provided all nursing and catering for the Hospital between 1856 and 1885. A second hospital was opened in 1861 on the site of the first extended hospital. A Medical Board was subsequently established at the College to oversee the academic work and teaching. By 1900, the changed nature of the surrounding area of the Hospital and the fact that about a third of patient admissions came from South London, led to a Special Court of the Governors, in 1903, adopting a proposal to move King's College Hospital south of the river Thames. In 1904 an Act of Parliament was obtained to remove the Hospital to Denmark Hill, on land purchased and presented to the Governors by Hon William Frederick Danvers Smith, later Lord Hambleden. A foundation stone was laid in 1909; that year King's College London was incorporated into the University of London and the Hospital established as a separate legal entity. At the same time the Committee of Management took over responsibility for teaching in the School of Advanced Medical Studies, bringing into existence King's College Hospital Medical School. The Faculty of Medical Science remained at the College providing pre-clinical training, while the Hospital Medical School provided clinical training, the latter being recognised as a School of Medicine by the University of London. The new Hospital was opened in 1913. From 1914 to 1919, the Hospital became the Fourth London General Military Hospital and a large part of it was taken over for military uses. In 1923 a Dental School and Hospital was established within the Hospital. In July 1948 the National Health Service Act came into operation. A King's College Hospital Group was recognised as a teaching group managed by a Board of Governors and responsible to the Minister of Health. In 1948 the King's College Hospital Group consisted of King's College Hospital, Royal Eye Hospital, Belgrave Hospital for Children, Belgrave Recovery Home, and Baldwin Brown Recovery Home. From 1966 the King's Group consisted of King's College Hospital, Belgrave Hospital for Children, Belgrave Recovery Home, Baldwin Brown Recovery Home, Dulwich Hospital, St Giles Hospital, and St Francis Hospital. In 1974, due to the reorganisation of the National Health Service, the Board of Governors of King's College Hospital Group was disbanded, and replaced by a District Management Team. The King's Health District (Teaching) was thus formed as one of the four Districts in the Lambeth Southwark and Lewisham Area Health Authority (Teaching). The second reorganisation of the National Health Service took place in April 1982, resulting in the King's Health District (Teaching) becoming a new Health Authority, the Camberwell District Health Authority. In 1983 King's College Hospital Medical School was reunited with the College to form King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry. The Hospital came under the management of the King's Heathcare Trust in 1993. The United Medical and Dental Schools (UMDS) of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals merged with King's College London in 1998, creating the Guy's, King's and St Thomas's School of Medicine.

Archival history

The major series of records relating to the day to day management of the Hospital were routinely retained by a variety of Hospital Administrators. From 1983 these have been steadily transferred to the Archives of King's College London. The majority of the case notes, however, were transferred to the Royal College of Physicians for safe keeping in 1957. These were deposited in the College Archives in 1984. Other case notes, together with records relating to the Listerian Society, were transferred from the Hospital Library.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Records of King's College Hospital, 1562-1999, comprising the governing and management bodies' and sub-committees' minutes and papers, 1839-1976; files of senior administrative staff including the Hospital Secretary, House Governor and District Administrator, 1853-1990; title deeds and other legal documents, 1562-[1970]; registers, indexes and inventories, 1879-1980; Medical School papers, 1833-1997, including the Medical Society/Listerian Society, the Clubs and Societies Union, and the Medical School Library; private papers of several professors, 1834-1988, including Albert Carless, Arthur Edmunds, Sir (Harold Arthur) Thomas Fairbank, and Herbert Willoughby Lyle; case notes, 1820-1959; ephemera, 1742-1998, including programmes for ceremonies and events, Hospital serials and publications, appeals and publicity, photographs and press cuttings; minutes and annual reports of the Friends of King's College Hospital, 1955-1988; Hospital accounts, 1961-1981; records of the Thrombosis Research Unit, [1972-1996]; records of the Nightingale Institute, 1813-1999.


Further records are expected to be deposited over time.

System of arrangement

Arranged chronologically and hierarchically within sub-fonds and principal series as outlined above.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Hospital records, excluding Medical School records, private papers and Medical Society records, are public records.

Administrative and committee papers are closed for 30 years from the last date on file. Student and staff records are closed for 80 years and case notes for 100 years. Readers will be required to sign an undertaking to abide by the rules of the Archives. Requests for access to closed records from those wishing to use anonymised data for scholarly research will be considered. Hospital records, excluding Medical School records, private papers and Medical Society records, are public records.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archive Services, King's College.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Detailed catalogues are available in the reading room of the College Archives.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

King's College London Archives include records relating to establishment and conduct of the Medical School, 1831-1909, and the establishment of the Hospital and chief appointments. Reference is notably to be found in the Council minutes, the College Secretary's file series, student records, reports and printed serials. Case notes for Belgrave Hospital for Children which formed a part of the Hospital Group, 1904-1948.

Publication note

F J C Hearnshaw The Centenary History of King's College London (London, 1929); H Willoughby Lyle King's and Some King's Men: being a record of the Medical Department of King's College from 1830-1909 and of King's College Hospital Medical School from 1909-1934 (Oxford University Press, London, 1935, Addendum to 1948 1950); D J Britten (editor) The Story of King's College Hospital and its Medical School 1829-1990 (Farrand Press, London, 1991).

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

Feb 2000


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  • Associations
  • Books
  • Clubs
  • Communications media
  • Documents
  • Guidebooks
  • Guides
  • Health services
  • Hospital administration
  • Hospital finance
  • Hospital management
  • Hospitals
  • Indexes
  • Information sciences
  • Information sources
  • Information/library administration
  • Inventories
  • Law
  • Legal documents
  • Legal systems
  • Leisure
  • Leisure time activities
  • Medical institutions
  • Newspaper press
  • Organizations
  • Photographs
  • Press
  • Press cuttings
  • Publications
  • Secondary documents
  • Social sciences
  • Social welfare
  • Visual materials

Corporate names

  • Friends of King's College Hospital
  • King's College Hospital
  • King's College Hospital
  • King's College Hospital, Medical School
  • King's College Hospital, Nightingale Institute
  • King's College London College Archives
  • King's College London, Thrombosis Research Unit

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