How to look for records of... Hospitals

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

How many are online?

  • Some

This is a brief guide to help you find records of a hospital. Ministry of Health records held at The National Archives are wide-ranging, although not all records survive. Many records of individual hospitals are held in local archives.

What do I need to know before I start?

The Ministry of Health was created in 1919.

Before the National Health Service was established, provision of healthcare was fragmented with no central control, and voluntary hospitals were charitable institutions.

The National Health Service was established in 1948.

Online records

There are no hospital records available to see online.

Records available only at The National Archives in Kew

To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).

Records of the Ministry of Health and related bodies (1798–2001)

Browse MH in Discovery, our catalogue, to find records from the Ministry of Health, the Poor Law Commission and other bodies involved in the provision of healthcare from 1798 to the modern day.

Records in other archives and organisations

Hospital records

Search archived data from the Hospital Records Database to locate records relating to specific hospitals held at The National Archives and other archives.

Records held locally

The National Archives’ catalogue contains collections and contact details of local archives around the UK and beyond. To locate these records, search our catalogue with keywords and refine your results to ‘Other archives’ using the filters.

Your results will show whether the records are held at The National Archives or elsewhere. For records held elsewhere you will need to contact the relevant archive directly to find out how to access their collections.

Other resources


Browse The Long, Long Trail website for information about military hospitals.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Voluntary Hospitals Database gives access to statistical data on beds, patients, income and expenditure from voluntary hospitals in Britain and Ireland between the 1890s and 1940s.