The historical archive at Northampton General Hospital initially started as a medical library at the first infirmary in George Row, Northampton, in 1790. When the second infirmary opened in 1793 on the present site the contents of the library re-located. The collection has now evolved and the library contents now numbers 2,850 books and journals, giving an overview of medical history dating back to the 16th century. Visitors are also able to view portraits, plaques, photographs, press cuttings, letters and medical equipment of historical interest.
Connections with the local community can be found in the archive and indicate the enormous contribution the local population put into the county hospitals, both financially and volunteering on committees and fundraising for running costs and building projects. As it was a voluntary hospital up to 1948 when the NHS was introduced all monies had to be raised by donations and subscriptions.
The archive is cared for by a small team of volunteers and it is funded entirely by donations and open on Wednesday mornings, from 8am to 1pm. Members of the general public are welcomed and will be of interest to anyone wishing to learn more about the county’s medical heritage and the close ties with local communities and charities. Academics and students researching the history of medicine have regular access to the archive and has been the source of numerous projects and papers for professional journals.
For NGH to have an archive of this importance based at a District General Hospital, outside of London is rare. It is important that it is kept intact, preserved and protected for future generations. To this end the Hospital Trust will develop, safeguard and make accessible the collection of exhibits that relate to the development of healthcare and understanding of local and global medical history.
You can also contact the Northamptonshire Central Records Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the archive does not hold patient or staff records.