St Thomas's Admission and Discharge Registers (RH)

The left-hand page of an admissions register, headed Patients, recording those brought into the hospital on 2 June 1796. St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1796, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/011, LL ref: LMTHRH554110005.

Introduction

St Thomas's Hospital is the only strictly medical establishment whose records are included in the London Lives website, and all the documents in this category were kept by the hospital. The similar registers concerning the inmates of workhouses, which also provided medical care as part of a more general provision, have been categorised as Registers of Workhouse Admissions (RW). Most of St Thomas's Hospital's eighteenth-century admissions registers were destroyed during the Second World War, and the few surviving examples for the eighteenth century have been included here. Viewing the original page images is recommended as the layout is complex and the precise meaning of the information provided is often dependent upon its position on the page.

Admissions Registers

The right-hand page of an Admissions Register, headed - discharged, 2d June 1796; recording the names of patients listed by the attending physician or surgeon St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1796, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/011, LL ref: LMTHRH554110004.

Apart from in the case of an emergency, the hospital only admitted patients once a week on Thursday mornings. Individuals hoping to be admitted had to attend the hospital at 9 o'clock, bringing a petition to the governors. The Governors Takers-In, a sub-committee of the Governors listed in LT, then met to consider each case and decide on the best course of action, based on the petition and a medical examination. Those suffering from infectious diseases or deemed incurable were not eligible for admittance. If the duty physician and surgeon recommended more patients than there were beds available, lots were drawn. Between thirty and fifty new patients were usually admitted each week, and a similar number were discharged. The surviving registers cover the period 1773-1800 and many are in a poor condition. Associated with each list of of admissions is a record of discharges. Like admissions, these are dated to the Thursday of each week, but their more formal layout, organised by attending physician or surgeon and written in a single, clear hand, suggest that the information they contain was written up on the Thursday, but reflected discharges that had taken place throughout the preceding week.

The registers alternate between discharges and admissions, each normally found in a new page opening. The lists of discharged patients are first divided according to the name of the attending physician or surgeon, then according to the nature of their medical condition at the time of admission, and finally by ward.

A page from the St Thomas's Hospital Register of Deaths, headed 1779 St Thomas̢۪s Hospital, Register of Deaths, 1763-99, MS H01/ST/B/18/01, LL ref: LMTHRH55414082.

Admissions are listed by ward, and give the patient's name, the admission fee, occasional brief details of the patient's medical condition, and the name and address of the patient's financial guarantor. The letters PP next to an admission indicates that the patient was sponsored by their parish. The admission fees during the period covered by the registers were 3s 6d for clean patients and 10s 6d for foule (or venereal) patients.

In addition, patients were obliged to provide the names of those who who guaranteed to pay their burial costs in case they died in hospital, reflecting the relatively low expectations of the hospital administration. Information about burial costs is recorded in more detail and more consistently than is the information about the patients' medical condition.

Register of Deaths

In addition to the Admissions Register, St Thomas's Hospital also maintained a Register of Deaths that occurred in the hospital. It is organised chronologically, and provides the patient's name, the ward in which they were cared for, the dates of admission and death, and whether they were buried in the hospital (with the date) or taken away for burial elsewhere. As well as basic information about who died and when, this register provides an unusual record of the length of time between death and burial (normally between two and four days).

A page from St Thomas's Hospital Register of Wounded Seamen, reflecting admissions between 1 December and 15 December 1690 St Thomas̢۪s Hospital, Register of Wounded Seamen, 1672-92, MS H01/ST/B/01, LL ref: LMTHRH554130081.

Register of Wounded Seamen

Following a Privy Council request in 1664, 120 beds were set aside in the hospital for wounded seamen, and a separate register was created to record the care provided. The resulting document covers the years 1672-92. it is organised chronologically and details the patients' names, the ward on which they were cared for, the name of their ship, date of admission, and whether and when they were discharged or dyed. Some seamen are recorded as having discharged themselves.

Introductory Reading

  • Ford, John M. T. A Medical Student at St Thomas's Hospital, 1801-2: The Weekes Family Letters. Wellcome Institute, 1987.
  • McInnes, Eilidh Mary. St Thomas's Hospital, London, and its Archives. Journal of the Society of Archivists, 1 (1959), pp. 277-82.
  • Siena, Kevin Patrick. Venereal Disease, Hospitals and the Urban Poor: London's "Foul Wards" 1600-1800. Rochester (NY), 2004.

Online Resources

For further reading on this subject see the London Lives Bibliography.

Documents Included on this Website

  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1773-75, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/001, LL ref: LMTHRH55401, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1776, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/002, LL ref: LMTHRH55402, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1781-82, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/003, LL ref: LMTHRH55403, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1782, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/004, LL ref: LMTHRH55404, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1783-84, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/005, LL ref: LMTHRH55405, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1787, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/006, LL ref: LMTHRH55406, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1787-88, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/007, LL ref: LMTHRH55407, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1789-90, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/008, LL ref: LMTHRH55408, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1790-91, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/009, LL ref: LMTHRH55409, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1794, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/010, LL ref: LMTHRH55410, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1796, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/011, LL ref: LMTHRH55411, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register, 1796-1800, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/003/012, LL ref: LMTHRH55412, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Admissions Register of wounded seamen, 1672-92, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/01, LL ref: LMTHRH55413, Tagging Level: D
  • St Thomas's Hospital, Register of Deaths, 1763-99, London Metropolitan Archives, Ms. H01/ST/B/18/01, LL ref: LMTHRH55414, Tagging Level: D

Back to Top | Introductory Reading