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Nottingham General Hospital

Nottingham General Hospital was founded as a charitable institution by public subscription in 1782. One of the major benefactors was John Key, a Nottingham banker who left a legacy of £500 in 1778 for the building of a County Hospital.

His bequest was conditional on a further £1,000 in subscriptions being raised within five years. The Duke of Newcastle and the Nottingham Corporation each gave an acre of land and the cost of the building on Derry Hill, designed by the architect, John Simpson, was almost £5,000. Other prominent subscribers were Richard Arkwright, Sir Henry Cavendish and Peter Nightingale, great uncle of Florence. The formal opening of the building in September 1782 was a major event in Nottingham.

 

Engraving of the Nottingham General Hospital from 1788

South West View of the General Hospital, Nottingham, 1788 [Uhg R 1]

 

The hospital opened with 44 beds and a small staff. Almost immediately, further beds had to be found and the Derbyshire wing was opened in 1787. Many extensions and additions followed including a third storey built onto the original building (1855), a new wing, located on the Park Row frontage (1879) and the Jubilee Wing (opened 1900), which comprised circular wards. The Cedars, a large house off Mansfield Road donated by Sir Charles Seely in 1897, provided 20 beds for convalescing patients.

The first part of the twentieth century was a period of rapid growth with new buildings, renovations of existing buildings and creation of various specialist departments. Temporary buildings were erected during the First World War to accommodate sick and wounded soldiers.

 

Group photograph of nurses and injured solders from the First World War 

Soldiers and nurses on the balcony of a Terrace Hut, Nottingham General Hospital, 1914-1918 [Uhg Ph 2/3/115]

 

The hospital was the centre for nursing training in Nottingham, and the Nurses Memorial Home (built as a monument to the First World War dead of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1923. Further extensions to the main hospital buildings included the Ropewalk Wing (1929), the Player Wing (1932) and the Castle Ward (1943).

At the formation of the National Health Service in 1948 and the takeover of the hospital by the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board, Nottingham General Hospital comprised 423 beds and 114 at the Cedars. Further developments after 1948 included the opening of an Intensive Care Unit in 1963 and of the Trent Wing in 1972. In the 1970s accommodation was created for medical students from Nottingham University's new Medical School.

 

Aerial photograph of Nottingham General Hospital from 1972

Aerial photograph of Nottingham General Hospital buildings, 1972 [Uhg Ph 1/2/3/36-38]

 

Photograph of the Nurses Memorial Home and Trent Wing in 1975

The Nurses Memorial Home and the new Trent Wing, Nottingham General Hospital, 1975 [Uhg Ph 1/2/3/34-36]

 

 

Following the opening of the University Hospital (the Queen's Medical Centre) in 1978, many services were transferred there from the General. The reduction of services continued throughout the 1980s and in 1992 the General Hospital finally closed, with its functions moving either to the University Hospital or the City Hospital.  

 

Records

Official records of the Hospital

Records of the General Hospital were first transferred to the University from the Nottinghamshire Area Health Authority (Teaching) South Nottingham District in 1974. Further accruals were received from Nottingham Health Authority during the winding down of the hospital's services and from various sources during the final stages of the hospital's closure in the early 1990s.

The catalogue of the Nottingham General Hospital collection (Uhg) is available and searchable through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.  

Although a few key records date back to the foundation of the hospital, including some accounts, minutes, and reports from the late eighteenth century, relatively little of the early historical material has survived, and few records are available for the nineteenth century. The principal series are accounts (1782-1968 with gaps), minutes (1782-1972 with gaps) and published annual reports (1782-1956).  

The hospital's financial business is recorded in a series of papers concerning bequests (1891-1937), and a series of property deeds (1877-1949). Much of the correspondence (1785-1916) also concerns finance.

The collection includes plans of actual and proposed buildings (1892-c.1970), inventories and valuations (1941-1990), a Library Catalogue (1884), a Chaplain's Journal (1924-1938) and a run of hospital rule books (1783-1959 with gaps).A treatment book from 1791-1800, and Dr Manson's Outpatient Book(1829-1831) are the earliest records relating to patients. The main series of operation and treatment registers dates from 1911 onwards. Since access to patient and clinical records is restricted due to the confidential information they contain, the majority of these records cannot normally be presented to users without special permission. Patient registers (1899-1982) are similarly restricted.

The training of nurses at the General Hospital is recorded in registers and other records, including prospectuses and lecture notes (1918-1971). Finally, the collection includes numerous photographs of buildings, wards, operating theatres, members of staff, official openings and other occasions (c.1880-1992).

 

Group photograph of staff at Nottingham General Hospital from about 1895

Nursing and Medical Staff Group, Nottingham General Hospital, c.1895 [Uhg Ph 3/4/1]

 

Administrative records, post-1948

Records of Nottingham No. 1 Hospital Management Committee (1948-1970), Nottingham University Hospital Management Committee (1970-1974), and Nottinghamshire Area Health Authority (Teaching), South Nottingham District (1974-1982). (Uh)

In 1948, Nottingham General Hospital was placed under the governance of the Sheffield Regional Health Board and the Nottingham No. 1 Hospital Management Committee. The Committee became the Nottingham University Hospital Management Committee in 1970, and in 1974 the Nottinghamshire Area Health Authority (Teaching), South Nottingham District. The Nottingham Health Authority was formed in 1982. Minutes and other administrative records of the Nottinghamshire Area Health Authority (Teaching), South Nottingham District and its predecessors, 1948-1982, record decisions which affected Nottingham General Hospital. A full catalogue of these records (Uh) is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.  

Records of fundraising, and nursing organisations

Records of the Nottingham and District Health Fund; 1899-1948 (Nh)

Nottingham General Hospital was one of the local hospitals which benefited from the collections of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Hospital Saturday Fund, formed in 1873. In 1938 the Fund changed its name to the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Hospital Saturday Contributory Fund. Contributors received free medical care from the hospitals involved. In 1948 the terms of reference of the Fund changed, and the name altered to the Nottingham and District Health Fund. Minutes and financial records of the Fund, 1899-1948, provide details about the Fund and its contributors. A full catalogue of these records (Nh) is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Records of the Linen Guild of Nottingham General, and General Hospital Nottingham Linen Guild and League of Hospital Friends; 1921-1992 (Hlf)

The Linen Guild of Nottingham General Hospital was a body of volunteers, formed in 1921. The original object of the Guild was to provide hospital patients and staff with all the garments they needed, and provide the Matron with funds to buy sheets, blankets and quilts. Sewing groups gave help in kind, and cash was raised through subscriptions collected by members. The aims were later broadened to include furnishings and fittings required on the wards, and later still extended to tackle large projects, such as the redecoration and re-lighting of the Chapel (1965), the Bicentenary Appeal, which led to the opening of the Stroke Research Unit at GHN in 1983, and the provision of a bus for elderly and infirm patients (1984). In 1956 the Guild voted to join the National Association of Leagues of Hospital Friends and changed its name to the General Hospital Nottingham Linen Guild and League of Hospital Friends. The last May Morning Market and the final Sewing Party were held in 1988. The League's Executive Committee met for the last time on 25 March 1992, after 51 years.

The collection contains minutes, correspondence files, annual reports, newsletters and photographs, providing a record of the League's activities throughout its history. A full catalogue of these records (Hlf) is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.  

General Hospital Nottingham Nurses' League records, 1948-1971 (NNL), and Nottingham Nurses' League minute book, 1969-1982 (MS 343/1)

The General Hospital Nottingham Nurses' League was founded in around 1948, to provide a forum for discussion of professional matters between nurses employed in or trained at the hospital, to provide social contacts, and to raise money to assist elderly and needy members. In 1972, following the integration of various different Schools of Nursing into one Group School for the hospitals in Nottingham, the League was reconstituted, and its name changed to the Nottingham Hospitals Nurses' League. In 1981, the League became the Nottingham Nurses' League, in order to incorporate nurses working outside hospitals.

The collection includes minutes, accounts and newsletters of the General Hospital Nottingham Nurses' League, 1948-1971; plus files relating to foreign study tours. A full catalogue of these records (NNL) is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue. A later minute book was received separately and catalogued as MS 343.

A small number of annual reports of the League, 1956-1972, are also present in the papers of Molly Denman (MS 334).  

Papers and photographs received from former hospital staff

Papers of Katherine Molly Denman, sister and principal tutor at Nottingham General Hospital; c.1912-1991 (MS 334)

Molly Denman (1909-1990) trained as a nurse at Nottingham General Hospital in 1930. She returned as a sister of the Preliminary Training School in 1941 and became a Sister Tutor in 1947. She was promoted to principal tutor in 1959, and retired in 1969. This collection consists of a scrapbook, photographs and printed items relating to Nottingham General Hospital and the Preliminary Training School. A collection-level description of these records is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.  

  

Photograph of Matron M.C. Plucknett in 1958

Matron M.C. Plucknett, 1958 [Uhg Ph 3/3/83]

Papers of Margaret Plucknett relating to Nottingham General Hospital, 1924-1990 (MS 360)

Margaret C. Plucknett (c.1905-1992) trained as a nurse in London. She was the Matron at Nottingham General Hospital from 1941 until her retirement in November 1958. This collection consists of a photograph album presented and signed by the Consultant Staff to Miss Plucknett, containing 12 photographs of hospital staff attending a reception to mark her retirement in December 1958; various loose photographs mainly of medical staff, 1940s-1950s; and booklets and other printed material relating to the hospital, 1924-1990. A collection-level description of these records is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Papers collected by a former clerk at Nottingham General Hospital, 1944-c.1993 (MS 377)

This small collection of two items includes reminiscences by Miss Lilian Schofield, a clerk at the hospital from 1926 into the post-war years, relating to administration and staffing, the Egg Week charity effort during the war, and the reception of convoys of injured soldiers. A collection-level description of these records is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue

Papers of Sister Marion Simpson, S.R.N. (d 1965); 1933-1966 (MS 381)

This small collection includes a General Hospital Nurses Training School student's notebook kept by Nurse Marion Simpson from 1933-1936, and photographs of Nurse Simpson and some of her fellow nursing trainees. A collection-level description of these records is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Nursing memorabilia of Honoria Mary Frayne, trainee nurse at Nottingham General Hospital, 1901-1926 (MS 805)

Honoria (Norah) Frayne (1905-) was a student nurse at the School of Nursing at Nottingham General Hospital between 1926 and 1931. The collection includes her student notebook on 'Nursing and Hygiene', a photograph of herself and colleagues attending a patient in the Ear, Nose and Throat operating theatre, and a printed copy engraving showing the Nurses' Home at Nottingham General Hospital. A collection-level description of these records is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue  

 

Bibliography

  • Scarfe, Norman (1999). Nottingham and its General Hospital in 1786: Extracts from the Travel Diaries of a French Nobleman. Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 103, 141-148 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals:Not]
  • Bittiner, John and Lowe, David (1990) Nottingham General Hospital : personal reflections. Nottingham: Special Trustees for Nottingham University Hospitals. [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Oversize Not 3.L27 GEN; King's Meadow Campus Medical Rare Books Oversize WX28.N6 BIT]
  • Heeley, S. (1988). Nottingham's General Hospital, 1782-1900. Nottinghamshire Historian, 41, 15-21 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Periodicals:Not]
  • Anon (1985). Nottingham General Hospital, Stroke Research Unit. The early years 1983-1985. Nottingham: General Hospital.
  • Anon (1982). Nottingham General Hospital: bicentenary, 1782-1982. Nottingham: Nottingham Evening Post special publication [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Planfile Not 3.L27 GEN]
  • Iliffe, R. and Baguley, W. (1974). The General Hospital. Victorian Nottingham : a story in pictures, 13, [79]-100 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Oversize Not 3.D28 ILI]
  • Anon (1972). Nottingham General Hospital. [Nottingham]: Nottingham University Hospital Management Committee
  • Jacob, Frank H. (1951). A history of the General Hospital near Nottingham: open to the sick and lame poor of any county. Bristol: John Wright and Sons, and London: Simpkin Marshall. [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 3.L27 GEN; King's Meadow Campus Medical Rare Books WX28.N6 JAC]
  • Hogarth, R.G., Consulting Surgeon to the General Hospital, Nottingham (1949). The Trent and I Go Wandering By. Stories of Over Fifty Years of My Life in Nottingham. Nottingham: Cooke & Vowles [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 3.V38 HOG; King's Meadow Campus Med-Chi Society Library WZ100.H460 HOG]
  • Jacob, F.H. (1942). The Nottingham General Hospital. Medical Press & Circular, 208, 148-151, ill.

 

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