As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, Jonathan Scott picks the top sites for researching health professionals
The National Health Service was founded in 1948, and the milestone anniversary is being celebrated in a variety of ways, including new social history projects. Before the NHS healthcare was fragmentary, provided through private treatment, charitable hospitals and dispensaries, and local Poor Law authorities.
Many family historians will be more interested in these pre-NHS sources, and there’s an excellent overview of the types of records that may survive for nurses, doctors and surgeons at GenGuide: bit.ly/genguidemedical-staff. The web page also lists some resources relating to the training and education of medical professionals.
Hospital staff records will in general be housed either at the local county record office (for example the London Metropolitan Archives boasts records from more than 80 hospitals), or at the hospital itself. And remember that many larger hospitals formed their own nursing schools.
An operation in a lecture theatre at University College Hospital Medical School, London, in 1898