Manuscripts and Special Collections

Highbury Hospital

Highbury Hospital had its origins in the provisions of the 1837 Poor Law Act and was, for its first eighty years, the infirmary of the Basford Union Workhouse.

These origins led it to specialise in particular types of disability and for a considerable time it functioned both as a hospital for mental and geriatric patients and as a general hospital staffed by specialists from Nottingham General Hospital providing surgery and midwifery services.

In 1970, the hospital had 312 beds: 188 for acute medical, surgical, maternity and gynaecological patients and 124 beds for mentally handicapped patients.


Highbury Hospital continues to provide health care services on its site on Highbury Road, Bulwell, Nottingham. 



Official records of the Hospital


The records were transferred to the University from the Nottinghamshire Area Health Authority (Teaching) South Nottingham District in April 1976 and April 1979.

The catalogue of the Highbury Hospital collection (Uhh) is available on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

The records consist primarily of registers of the admission and discharge of patients (1895-1950). There are also registers of persons of unsound mind detained in the institution (1914-1947) and registers of sick, maternity and mental patients (1911-1950). Registers of births (1871-1947) and of deaths (1871-1948) are also present, as is a delivery ward register (1916-1942). 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.


In addition to the patient registers, the records include minutes of the Group House Committee (1957-1969) and half-yearly reports of the Medical Officer (1932-1948). 

Basford Union Workhouse records

Records dealing with the Basford Union as an administrative unit have been transferred to Nottinghamshire Archives. The Nottinghamshire Archives collection includes Guardians' minute books (1836-1930), admissions and discharges (1854-57), outdoor relief lists (1900-30), apprentices' indentures and settlements (1845-1903), register of children in workhouse (1900-30), and vaccination registers.

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, Highbury 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 Highbury Hospital. A full catalogue of these records (Uh) is available through the Manuscripts Online Catalogue. 


Bibliography and web links

  • Caplan, Maurice (1984). In the shadow of the Workhouse : the implementation of the New Poor Law throughout Nottinghamshire, 1836-46. Nottingham : University of Nottingham, Department of Adult Education. Centre for Local History occasional papers, no. 3 [King's Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not.1 L44.CAP]]
  • Crowther, M.A. (1983). The workhouse system, 1834-1929 : the history of an English social institution. London: Methuen.
  • Webpage concerning Basford Workhouse, from Peter Higginbotham's Workhouses website [accessed 07/07/2020]


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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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