Records of Nottingham General Hospital, 1782-1988

Scope and Content

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). Many of the series concern financial or property business, including bequests (1891-1937), much of the correspondence (1785-1916), and deeds (1877-1949). The Collection includes plans (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).

Patient records include early operations books for 1791-1800 and 1829-1831, with the main series covering the years 1911 onwards. General patient registers date from 1899-1982.

The training of nurses at the General Hospital is recorded in registers and other records (1918-1971). Photographs and other personal memorabilia received at the time of the 1992 closure, particularly from former nurses, form separate collections. Other photographs in this collection cover the history of the hospital, c.1880-1992.

Administrative / Biographical History

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 for the building of a County Hospital. 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 (see Uhg M 9/1).

The hospital opened in 1782 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 new wing, located on the Park Row frontage (1879) and the five storey circular building, the Jubilee Wing (opened 1900). 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. Further extensions were built including 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 take over of the hospital by the Sheffield Regional Board, the 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. Following the opening of the University Hospital, the Queen's Medical Centre, in 1977, 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 to the City Hospital.


The papers are listed chronologically within series arranged according to form; accounts, minutes, patient registers

Conditions Governing Access

Parts of the collection are accessible to all registered readers but all unpublished records are closed to general access for a minimum of thirty years. All patient and clinical records are closed to general access for a period of 100 years from date of creation. Please contact the department for further advice.

Other Finding Aids

Copyright in all Finding Aids belongs to the University of Nottingham.

In the Reading Room, King's Meadow Campus:

Typescript Catalogue, 328 pp

At the National Register of Archives, London:

Typescript Catalogue, 30 pp [Please note that the catalogue at King's Meadow Campus, and the online version on the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, is more up to date]

On the World Wide Web:

Catalogue available through the website of Manuscripts and Special Collections, Manuscripts Online Catalogue. This catalogue includes more recent accruals than the typescript catalogue, and a number of significant amendments.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Keeper of Manuscripts and Special Collections (email

Custodial History

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.

Related Material

Other Nottingham hospital collections held at The University of Nottingham; Manuscripts and Special Collections: Uh, Nh, Uhc, Uhe, Uhf, Uhh, Uhne, Uhw, Uht, Hlf, Nnl, MS342, MS362, MS363, MS365, MS813, MS360, MS366, MS373, MS377, MS334, MS805, MS343, MS381, MS856.


The two standard histories of Nottingham General Hospital, which draw heavily upon documents and photographs now in the General Hospital collection, are: Jacob, Frank H. '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, 1951) Bittiner, John and Lowe, David. 'Nottingham General Hospital : personal reflections' (Nottingham: Special Trustees for Nottingham University Hospitals, 1990)