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Montage of three nurses. All images © Wellcome Library, London. References: L0010490, L0018470, L0010789. Hospital Records Database
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Details: St Mark's Hospital for Diseases of the Rectum and Colon, London

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Present name

St Mark's Hospital for Diseases of the Rectum and Colon 

Previous name(s)

Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor Afflicted With Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum (1835 - 1854)
St Mark's Hospital for Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum (1854 - 1909)
St Mark's Hospital for Cancer, F and other Ds of the Rectum (1909 - 1948)  


City Road Finsbury London EC1V 2PS 

Previous location

11, Aldersgate Street, London (1835 - 1837)
38 Charterhouse Square, London (1837 - 1854)

Foundation Year




Administrative authorities

Regional Hospital Board (1948-74)

London (Teaching) 

Hospital Management Committee (1948-74)


Regional Health Authority (1974-82)

North East Thames 

Regional Health Authority (1982- )

North East Thames 

District Health Authority (1974-82)

City and Hackney (Teaching) 

District Health Authority (1982- )

City and Hackney 

Current Trust

St Mark's and Northwick Park NHS Trust 

Trust From


County (before 1974)


County (1974-1996)

Greater London 

County (after 1996)

Greater London 


Pre 1948


Post 1948



Pre 1948

OTHER: Diseases of the rectum and colon.

Post 1948

OTHER: Diseases of the rectum and colon.

Other information

Amalgamated with St Bartholemew's Hospital, 1972-74. Jointly administered with Hammersmith Hospital 1948 - 1972. St Mark's Hospital The beginnings of St Mark's Hospial were in a small room at No. 11 Aldersgate Street where, in 1835, Frederick Salmon opened "The Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor afflicted with Fistula and other Diseases of the Rectum". There were just seven beds and in the first year 131 patients were admitted. Frederick Salmon was born in Bath in 1796 and served his apprenticeship in medicine there. He qualified at St Bartholomew's in 1817 and subsequently became a house-surgeon, in those days an unpaid job. In 1827 he was elected to a Surgeon's post at the Aldersgate Street Dispensary but resigned five years later, along with the rest of the medical staff, because of a dispute with the Management Committee about the method of choosing new staff. Tired of the restrictions of working within the Establishment, Salmon decided to found his own institution to provide treatment for those conditions which were regarded as "the most distressing that can afflict our common nature". So the "Fistula Infirmary", as it came to be known, was started. Much of the financial support came form the City of London - the Lord Mayor, William Taylor Copeland, was a grateful patient of Salmon's and became the first President. Another benefactor was Charles Dickens who blamed his need for Salmon's surgical attentions on "too much sitting at my desk"! There was an overwhelming need for such an institution giving specialist treatment free of charge to London's poor and in 1838, when the number of patients had trebled, Salmon moved to larger premises at 38, Charterhouse Square where there were 14beds and more space for treating out-patients. Thirteen years later the present site of the Hospital in City Road was purchased from the Dyers' Company and the almshouses that occupied it were converted to a 25-bed hospital which was opened lon 25 April, St Mark's Day, 1854, taking the name of St Mark's Hospital for Fistula and other diseases of the rectum. the staff consisted of a surgeon, a matron, a dispenser, nurses and servant; St Mark's was unique in not employing a physician until 1948. In 1859 Frederick Slamon resigned from his post as Surgeon. He is said to have performed 3500 operations without a single fatality, a remarkable feat in an age when anaesthetics were only just beginning to be used and antiseptics were unknown. The Governors commissioned a portrait of him which was displayed in the entrance hall until the closure of the hospital in 1995. By the 1870s ever-increasing demands on the Hospital caused rebuilding to be considered. The adjacent site, occupied by rice mills, was acquired but could not be developed for some years due to lack of funds. Eventually building began in January 1896 the "New St Mark's" was opened. There was considerable difficulty in meeting the costs of maintaining the new building and it was the entertainment industry that finally came to the rescue - Lillie Langtry organised a Charity Matinee at her theatre in Drury Lane and the Hospital was saved. In 1909 the name of the Hospital was changed a second time to St Mark's Hospital for Cancer, Fistula etc., reflecting the work and interests of J.P Lockhart-Mummery who was a pioneer in cancer surgery. The First World War seems to have made little direct impact, although ten beds were given over to servicemen, and despite the stringency of the times, the Governors purchased more land on the East side of the Hospital which gave room for expansion after hostilities had ceases. An Appeal Fund launched in 1920 was very successful and in 1926 work began on a large extension which gave the Hospital a new appearance and provided two new wards as well as new Out-Patient, X-ray, Pathology and Research Departments. A nurses' home was also provided for the first time; this was reeplaced by a self-contained home in 1936 when the former accommodation became a private wing after Lockhart-Mummery who had retired the previous year. St Mark's was taken over by the new National Health Service in 1948 and was administered jointly with Hammersmith Hospital until the NHS reforms of 1972 when it became attached to St Bartholomew's. After 1974 St Mark's was part of the newly-established City and Hackney Health District which also included Hackney General, the Mothers', the German, the Eastern and St Leonard's Hospitals; but St Mark's retained its individual character having developed from Salmon's "initial Charity" of 1835 to an internationally respected specialist hospital. During the 1980s, many of the hospitals in the City and Hackney District were closed and their services transferred to the new Homerton Hospital. The government introduced the idea of self-governing NHS Trusts, and in 1992 Sir Bernard Tomlinson's Report of the Inquiry into the London Health Service proposed radical changes to the hospital groupings then in place. St Mark's remained part of the Barts NHS Shadow Trust (later Barts NHS Group) until April 1994, when the changes envisaged by the Tomlinson Report came into force. At this point, Bart's joined with the Royal London and the London Chest Hospitals to form the Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, while St Mark's became part of the St Mark's and Northwick Park NHS Trust, based in Harrow. All services form St Mark's were transferred to Northwick Park in July 1995. The archives of St Mark's from its formation up to April 1994 are held in the Archives Department at St Bartholomew's Hospital, by agreement with the St Mark's and Northwick Park Trust.

Records can be found at:


  London Metropolitan Archives

Record type

Date range


1898 - 1947


1898 - 1947

Finding aids

Finding aids

Brief Guide(BG)

Location of finding aids

At Repository(AR)


Brief Guide: Hospital and Charity Annual Reports


Annual Reports - Annual Report Collection SC/PPS/093/69,85


  St Bartholomew's Hospital Archives and Museum

Record type

Date range


1840 - 1996


1857 - 1995


1962 - 1965


1972 - 1992


1896 - 1964

   Admission & Discharge

1900 - 1985


1840 - 1981


1857 - 1996


1973 - 1983

Clinical & Patients

1913 - 1986

Finding aids

Finding aids

Catalogue, Card Index

Location of finding aids

At Repository(AR), National Register of Archives (NRA)


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