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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Archive Contents


Medical journals dating from 1744-1918, this section includes bound copies of the Lancet from the first edition through to 1918. The journals cover a wide range of medical conditions and treatments in the form of case studies, lectures and general observations.

  • Bradley’s Medical Journal 1799-1818
  • British and Foreign Medical & Surgical Reviews 1848-1877
  • Dublin Journal of Medical Science 1832-1877
  • Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal 1805-1818
  • Haller’s Physiologia 1757-1766
  • Linnei Species Plantarium 1797-1910
  • Medical Commentaries 1773-1793
  • Medico-Chirurgical Transactions 1768-1839
  • Medical Communications 1784-1790
  • Medical Observations and Inquires 1757-1784
  • Medical Times and Gazette 1852-1884
  • Ophthalmic Review 1865-1913
  • Ophthalmoscope 1907-1914
  • Philosophical Magazine 1798-1808
  • Radiology Year books 1934-1968
  • Transactions of the College of Physicians of Ireland 1817-1830
  • The Lancet 1823-1918
  • Works of Boerhaave 1744-1773


The 1818 Collection

The Medical Society was founded in 1790 and a lending library established with 33 books and here are some of the rules and regulations.

  • The subscriptions were 1 guinea annually or 10 guineas for life.
  • The House Officer acted as Treasurer and Librarian and was given free membership.
  • The member was allowed to borrow 2 folios, 4 quartos or 6 octavos for four weeks. If a member lived in the country he was allowed four extra days to return the books.
  • The fine for overdue books was 3 pence a day.


The Original Library

After discovering a printed catalogue dated 1818 it was decided to collect the titles and shelve them in a separate section in the archive. From the listed titles, 392 were found and only 85 had gone missing. Many had been donated by prominent persons in the county and have their name inscribed on the front cover.

Library Cataloges

These are of interest because they give a short history of the medical library and dates and costs of books purchased over the years to add to the collection.

  • Library catalogues – 1875 and 1884
  • Receipt books for books purchased 1826-1934


Museum Artefacts

The museum was originally housed in the Board Room and was established by Dr Ken Oldham, anaesthetist at NGH and was officially opened on 4th June 1984 by Mr Simon Schanschieff.
It contained over 700 artefacts and was housed in glass cabinets donated by a local benefactor.
The collection is now is now stored at Springfield, the premises of the Northamptonshire Health Charity.
Some artefacts from that collection are on display in the archive room and include:

  • Surgical instruments
  • Diagnostic equipment
  • Orthopaedic boots and shoes
  • Pharmaceutical equipment
  • Commemorative items
  • Award memorabilia  


Portraits, Photographs and Plaques

This part of the collection has the following:

  • Portraits of medical staff, members of committees and titled county family members who have supported the hospitals. These are held in the archive and also in the Board Room. Some are listed on a national database of art held in public places.
  • Framed photographs of medical staff and committee members
  • Commemorative plaques encapsulating special occasions, individuals who have contributed their services and significant donations.
  • Bed and cot endowment plaques from a wide range of county individuals, organisations and companies. 


Northampton General Hospital Reports

These bound volumes give a comprehensive record of the hospital’s development and are a valuable reference tool for anyone researching the history of the hospitals through the county.
They contain financial accounts, patient numbers and reports of the year’s activities. The earlier reports detail all donations given to the hospital, both monetary and in gift form.

  • Reports held from 1743-1826 and 1850-1974
  • The missing years 1827-1849 are held at the Central Records Office 


Subcription Lists

The archive holds copies of the Annual Subscribers and Benefactors 1743-1904, the original copies are held at the Central Records Office.
These sheets detail every donor and pre-date the bound copies of annual reports.


Medical Officer of Health Reports

These reports written and compiled by the county Medical Officer of Health give detailed information about the living and working conditions of the population and the actions taken to correct these problems. They give an honest insight that will be of interest to any social historian.

  • Copies held in the archive 1889-1973


The Photographic Collection

This large collection of images covers Northampton General Hospital (NGH) and others in the county and contains buildings, wards, departments, persons and occasions, including Royal visits. The collection is constantly added to by donations from retired staff and local residents.
They cover the following categories:

  • NGH occasions and staff members 1913 onwards
  • NGH buildings 1743 onwards
  • Other county hospitals and convalescent homes 1914 onwards
  • Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital 1899-1992
  • Cripps Post-graduate Medical Centre and Recreation Centre 1963
  • NGH wards and departments 1900 onwards
  • Barratt Maternity Home 1936 onwards
  • Creaton Hospital 1910-1979
  • Nurses – from around 1910 onwards 


Medical Illustrations

The archive holds a collection of illustrations by Dr Charles Jewel Evans. He was a physician at the Royal Victoria Dispensary in Albion Place, Northampton, for 47 years. His talent as a medical illustrator is apparent in this collection and he has also copied physiognomy images from surgical journals and books from the 1800s. It would appear that he also donated his entire medical library on his retirement to the hospital. Several books have his signature on the fly-leaf and some have certificates pasted in from examinations taken at the Royal College of Physicians.


Committee Minute Books

These minute books cover a range of the activities of various committees at the hospital, some recording significant events in medical history, for example the introduction of Penicillin and the start of Special Clinics to treat venereal diseases.

  • Minutes of several committees bound together 1925-1935
  • Minutes of staff council 1944-1976
  • Medical Board minutes 1904-1937 and 1977-1988
  • Various committees 1920-1925
  • BMA South Midland Branch minutes 1889-1903  


Hospital Week Committee

Records of this committee’s activities 1926-1939. The name changed to Northampton Hospital Guild in 1940


Histories of the Hospital

  • History of the General Infirmary by George Harday 1840
  • 250th anniversary history of NGH by Mr HW Griffiths 


Notebook of Tables

This includes lists of names dating back to 1743


Subscription Notebook

Contains names of the subscribers for the 2nd infirmary


Balance Sheets and Accounts

Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital 1927-1948


Letters and Directives

A collection of letters, committee minutes, reports and directives give an overview of the development of the two hospitals for around 200 years.

  • NGH directives/policies 1928-1962
  • Various letters/ memos/notes 1786 onwards
  • Letters – GP and demobilised officers WW2 – 1945-1949
  • Various committees NGH 1942-1957
  • Medical Board letters 1938-1960
  • Anniversary Sermons 1744-1750
  • Almoner reports 1933-1969
  • Penicillin to Northampton 1944-1945
  • Northampton District Hospital Management Committee 1949-1961
  • Closure of Creaton Hospital 1979-1980
  • Joint Fracture and Orthopaedic Scheme report 1947
  • Directives – Department of Health receipts/letters
  • Infection control 1941-1959
  • Pharmacy (list of drugs) 1957-1960
  • BMA letters 1948-1960Registrar matters 1946-1952
  • Northampton Infirmary Rules and Regulations 1743-1928 


Visitor Books

One is from Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital in Northampton, opened in 1925 and closed in 1992. The signatures show the wide range of visitors from the Royal family, entertainment, sportsmen, titled families and local dignitaries – 1928-1962

Another visitor book from the John Greenwood Shipman Convalescent Home in Northampton has a similar range of visitors – 1932-1966


Hospital Postal Covers and Postcards

Copies taken from the originals of the following:

  • Engraved letter headings – 1840
  • Red Cross and VAD envelopes – 1919
  • Postcard – 1901
  • Duston War Hospital WW1
  • Fundraising postcard 1907
  • From the collection of Mr Derek Smeathers of Northampton. 


Press Cuttings

This part of the collection has press cuttings from local and national press about hospital matters. Also contains a library of hospital news-lines and magazines published by NGH
Hospital Week Committee cuttings from 1926-1939
Press cuttings from local press 1948 –
News-lines archive 1984 –


Tables from the 19th Century

  • Census of Great Britain 1801-1851 in 2 volumes
  • Births/ Deaths/ Marriages 1839 and 1848
  • Population returns 1831
  • Cattle Plague 1866


Nursing Historical Sources

This collection gives an insight into nursing, through training, examinations, prize-giving and the nursing profession. This has been made possible by donations from nurses and their families.

  • Examination papers
  • Prize-giving certificates
  • Letters
  • Directives/reports/accounts
  • Nursing notesHospital badges
  • Lectures
  • Training rules and regulations
  • Personal artefacts associated with nursing  


Northampton Nurses League

The league was founded in 1949 and the archive of magazines, letters and programmes give an insight into the activities of this league of nurses, both work related and social events.

  • Nurses League magazines 1951-1992
  • Letters and programmes


Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital

In 1924 Mr James Manfield, a local shoe manufacturer, gave his family mansion and 19 acres of grounds to become a hospital for crippled children. It officially opened in 1925 and soon admitted adults as well suffering from a range of crippling diseases such as tuberculosis, poliomyelitis and rickets. By the time the hospital closed in 1992 it had developed into a centre of excellence for orthopaedic care. Items held tell the story of that hospital and the impact it had on the population of Northamptonshire and surrounding counties.

  • Photographs
  • Annual reports
  • Manfield nursing historical sources
  • Press cuttings
  • Bed and cot plaques  

Northampton County Crippled Children's Fund

In 1899 a committee was formed to give care and relief to the increasing number of children suffering from crippling diseases. These were either caused by infection, poor nutrition, congenital deformities or unhealthy living conditions. The charity organised and funded surgical appliances, dietary supplements, outings, holidays and emotional support to the families. By the early 1920s the charity had over 400 children under their care and it had become obvious that a dedicated hospital was needed in the town to treat these children and give effective medical treatment. Prompted by an item in the Northampton Independent about their plight Mr James Manfield, shoe manufacturer gifted his mansion to the town for that purpose, and it opened in 1925.


Barratt Maternity Home

This Home was opened in 1936 and was made possible by a donation of £20,000 by Mr William Barratt, a local shoe manufacturer, who wished to give something back to the community. The Barratt archive covers the first 75 years of its history and includes the silver trowel used by Mrs Alice Barratt who laid the foundation stone in 1935.

  • Photographs
  • Press cuttings and articles
  • Brochures
  • Commemorative programme


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