Collection RHN - Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

Cured by an incurable Feeble Folk: notes of a ramble in the west of England Friends of an Hour My first year in the Royal Hospital for Incurables, Putney Heath by a patient Not abandoned Our pensioners Thoughts of an incurable Our at home Suffering and Peace A Hospital Farm in London Incurables & humour How to raise £50,000 a year for the Putney Incurables Taking round the hat Letters from Home Lord Paperton and Putney Confessions and recollections by a committee-room table Only a sun-dial Letter received by Frederic Andrews regarding hospital design, dated 16 August 1861 Letter received by Frederic Andrews regarding hospital design, dated 12 September 1861 Letter from Florence Nightingale received by Frederic Andrews, September 1861, on hospital design
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Identity area

Reference code

GB 3544 RHN


Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability


  • 1854 - present (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

c. 300 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Archival history

The Hospital was established in 1854 as the 'Royal Hospital' at Mansion House on 31 July 1854. The driving force behind the charity was the Reverend Andrew Reed (1792-1862), a Non-Conformist clergyman and philanthropist who established five charitable institutions in his lifetime including the Royal Orphan Asylum, Asylum for Idiots (later Royal Earlswood Hospital) and the Royal Hospital, later known as 'Royal Hospital for Incurables'. The aim of the hospital was to provide a permanent home for people living with disability where there was no known medical cure and no other family or parish support was available.

The Hospital was initially established in an old workhouse in Carshalton, Surrey from 1855-1857, but soon a new premises was required as patient demand grew. From 1857-1862, the Hospital was established in Putney House, situated on Upper Richmond Road, Putney before moving to its current location, Melrose Lodge (formerly West Hill Mansion) in 1862. Once moved the Hospital quickly began to convert the Georgian mansion for use as a convalescent home, which more accurately reflected the function of the institution. Work was quickly undertaken to build two new wings to the north and south of the Georgian mansion house, before a new wing was built from 1879-1882, which allowed the accommodation of 100 more patients and included an assembly room for religious services and performances.

The Hospital offices were based in the City of London until prior to the advent of the Second World War when they were transferred to the hospital. There is reference to there being a loss of some of the early documents in a fire but the main administrative documents of the early hospital survive. Other items were held for safekeeping at the hospital's solicitors, Farrer & Co, which were transferred back to the hospital in a safe deposit box.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The Hospital began to actively collect and bring together historical papers and artefacts in 2013. The majority of the collections came internally from cupboards and stores in the hospital with a few items donated from ex staff members. In 2018, with the appointment of a full-time archivist the collection has grown to include accessions from various departments and external donors, along with a growing collection of born-digital records and digitised records.

Prior to this some of the historic records were clearly retained based on the sources referenced from histories published by the hospital in 1936 and 1967. The former, The Royal Hospital and Home for Incurables, Putney, and its Founder. A short history of the parent institution for incurables until its completion in 1918, with a biography of its founder, Andrew Reed, D.D. by Philip French, makes reference to a loss of a number of early records relating to the hospital in a fire in the City Office in the early 20th century.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection spans from its inception in 1854 to the present day and includes records relating to governance, administration, estate, financial, fundraising, medical and research. There is a wide variety of types of records include committee minutes, correspondence, admission case books, domestic ledgers, reports, fundraising pamphlets and audio-visual material and photographs.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The records have been arranged into 9 sub-series:
Administrative records: governance records, admission records, domestic stock and estate records, religious services and visitor's books.
Fundraising records: papers relating to the Fundraising Department, printed appeals
Financial records: financial committee minutes and bequests
Clinical records: Matron reports, Medical Officer reports, patient case notes, registers for nurse training school
Research records: research and conference reports
Publications and talks
Artefacts and artwork
Audio-visual material

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Allied materials area

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Archon Code: GB 3544

Institution identifier

The National Archives: ARCHON Directory

Rules and/or conventions used

ISDIAH – International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings, 1st ed., International Council on Archives, 2008.



Level of detail




Digital object (Master) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area