Upcoming seminar: Approaches to Opening Up Medical Records, London Metropolitan Archives

Posted on

Date: Fri 19 January 2018

Time: 09:30 – 13:30 GMT

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB


At this professional seminar, LMA and St Bartholomew’s Hospital Archives will share their approaches to opening up access to medical records in their collections through two current projects funded by the Wellcome Trust Research Resources in Medical History scheme. Speakers include: Philippa Smith, Lara Speroni, Giorgia Genco, Kate Jarman and Rebecca D’Ambrosio.


You can register for free for this event via Eventbrite:




Unlocking the Asylum Project at Denbighshire Archives

Posted on

My name is Lindsey Sutton and I am the Project Archivist employed on the Wellcome funded Unlocking the Asylum project at Denbighshire Archives. The project began in October of this year and is due to run until November 2019.

The North Wales Hospital, Denbigh, was the main institution in North Wales for the care of the mentally ill. The institution opened in October 1848 serving the whole of North Wales and the borders. A century later, its patients numbered in excess of 1,500. It was by far the biggest employer in the area and activities recorded in its voluminous archives reflect its importance in the social and economic life of the area, with its farm, sporting activities, community events and cultural festivals.

The hospital finally closed its doors in 1995. The resulting archive is unique in its completeness including: patient records; annual reports and committee minutes; financial records; plans; and staff records.

The project team is made up of three roles. There is the Project Archivist (myself), whose role is to produce an itemised catalogue of the existing accessions re-catalogued to current standards and an itemised catalogue of later accessions of administration records. There is a Project Support Officer who will spend two years indexing and repackaging the later series of patient case files, some 23,000 in total.

Finally there is the Project Conservator who has been employed for three months to assess the collection for conservation needs and suggest preventive preservation measures.

We are now three months into the project and the first phase to re-catalogue the existing accessions is now complete, the temporary catalogue is available online via the Denbighshire Archives website.

Work is also well under way on the indexing and repackaging of the patient files, of which just under 1000 have been completed. Additionally a detailed conservation survey has been completed, the repackaging recommendations of which will be implemented next year.

If you would like to find out more about this project please see our two recent blog posts which look at the plans for repackaging the series of maps and plans, and take a closer look at the information contained within the patient files predating the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948.

Unlocking the Asylum: Unrolling the Archive

Exploring the Asylum: Patient Case Books

We will continue to post regular updates throughout the project on our blog and Facebook pages.


UK Medical Treasures: Erasmus Darwin’s Prescription book, Derbyshire Record Office

Posted on

These notebooks are a series of medical practice records, covering the 1740s to 1780s. Each entry deals with an individual patient, recording symptoms and treatment. It’s clear that there is more than one style of handwriting in the books, but we believe the later entries to be the work of Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) who moved […]

via Treasure 48: Erasmus Darwin’s prescription notebooks — Derbyshire Record Office


Upcoming History of Medicine events at the Festival of Creative Learning at The University of Edinburgh

Posted on

The Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA) are holding two workshops as part of The Festival of Creative Learning at The University of Edinburgh (20th – 24th February).

On 20th and 22nd February, Samar Ziadat will be running workshops on ‘Making History’. Exploring the collections through a crafty zine-making sessions, we’ll be taking a closer look at the achievements of some notable but lesser-known women in our collections.

Sign up here:
Monday 20th February:…
Wednesday 22nd February:…

Also occurring during the festival, on 23rd and 24th February, Surgeons Hall will be hosting a history of medicine Wikipedia editathon. We’ll be working with librarians, archivists, academic colleagues and the University’s Wikimedian-in-Residence to improve the quality of articles about the history of medicine on Wikipedia.

Sign up here:…

You don’t need to be a dab hand at zine-making or a Wikipeida expert to get involved with either of these – the Festival of Creative Learning is all about trying something new. You can find out more about the full programme on the Festival website: