22nd November



Board of Management Minutes: Jul 1894 – Jan 1902 NHNN/A/4/5

The Board regret they cannot accept the Medical Committee’s amendment, virtually amounting to an abrogation of the byelaw which declares “persons labouring under epileptic mania or imbecility or whose mental constitution is a source of danger or serious disturbance to the other patients” to be ineligible for admission as inpatients.

The byelaw has existed in some form since the hospital was founded, and hitherto, it has been considered as fundamental and salutary. The Board are strongly of opinion that the cases specified should be excluded and that to leave the physicians without the guidance of a definite rule upon so vital a point would be unsatisfactory.

It may be that the byelaw excludes some cases which might be benefitted by treatment, but the Board do not think it would be right to admit such cases at the expense of sufferers who are the legitimate objects of the charity’s relief and for whose benefit it was established. If pension is to be made for the cases in question, they think it should be in a separate building and preferably by an independent institution.

To introduce persons who are maniacal and imbecile into the wards would be distinctly detrimental to the other patients, because the latter would be robbed of space and comfort and the chance of improvement and recovery.

The Board believe that any relaxation of the byelaw would be immediately detrimental to the welfare and objects of the hospital, as few sick patients would willingly enter wards where they were exposed to the society of the mentally unsound. Moreover, considerations of safety would demand arrangements, structural and supervisory, similar to those of an asylum for the insane, and in all likelihood control by the Commission of Lunacy would follow.

Finally, the Board consider that apart from these objections, no practical purpose would be served by increasing the scope of work which is already far greater than can be comported by the hospital, or by any probable enlargement of its services.


Medical Committee Minutes Jan 1900 – Nov 1912 NHNN/A/9/2

A letter to the Governors from the Medical Committee

We, the members of the Medical Staff, submitted to you in June last a Report on the condition of the Charity at the time, wherein we arrived at the following conclusions:

  1. That to safeguard the interests of the patients and the reputation of the National Hospital by co-operation of the Board of Management and the Medical Staff, it is indispensable that the Medical Staff be directly represented on the Board of Management.

  2. That, in view of the impossibility of their continuing the work at the National Hospital under existing conditions, the Medical Staff appeal to the Governors to effect the necessary change in the Management of the Hospital.

Owing to the fact that a complete and official list of the Governors was at the time withheld from us by the Board, we do not know whether this Report has reached all of them. However this may be, our appeal has hitherto produced no practical effect.

The subject was shortly afterwards taken up independently by “The Times” and a long correspondence has ensued in the columns of that journal. We have the honour of sending you, under a separate cover, brief accounts of the questions at issue, and some expression of public opinion thereon, and we beg your careful perusal of these. But we desire at once to draw your attention to the enclosed letter, which has been addressed to the Editor of “The Times” by a large number of leaders of the Medical profession, as well as Physicians and Surgeons representing the most important metropolitan hospitals, who record their firm conviction that our demand for representation is a perfectly reasonable one, and one which, in other hospitals, has conduced to harmonious working and efficient administration.

We have been patiently waiting for the Governors to exercise their right in insisting upon this necessary reform. But we do not think it consistent with our duty to the Hospital, to the Medical profession, and to ourselves, to allow the present deplorable situation to be indefinitely prolonged.

We have from the first demanded, in the interests of the Hospital, that the Medical staff should be represented by two of their number on the Board of Management. The continued refusal of the Board to agree to this requirement renders it necessary for us to bring the matter to an issue. Should no independent step be taken by the Governors, within a reasonable time, towards securing this indispensable reform, we are resolved, though with the most sincere regret, to resign the posts we hold at the Hospital

(Signed) J. Hughlings Jackson, Thomas Buzzard, R. Brudnell Carter, H. Charlton Bastian, W.R. Gowers, David Ferrier, J.A. Ormerod, Charles E. Beevor, Howard H. Tooth, James Taylor, J.S. Risien Russell, W. Aldren Turner, Frederick E. Batten, Felix Semon, Victor Horsley, Charles A. Balance, R. Marcus Gunn, A.E. Cumberbatch.


Matron’s Reports NHNN/N/3/2

Cicely U Tafe – reports from 21 May 1929 to 22 May 1945

‘With the permission of the Board I should like to order 12 new food containers for the Night Nurses. The nurses take their own food for the night in with them. The existing tins have been in use many years, they are worn out and inadequate. I have obtained a number of estimates and find that the cheapest and most suitable tins may be obtained from Stain’s Kitchen Equipment Co.Ltd, price 12/6 each, less hospital discount, approximate total cost of £7.10.0.


Staff records NHNN/S/6

Miss Alice M H

Employed from 22nd November 1938 as Assistant Radiographer. One of the references to support her application for this post was from Rev Nichol Grieve, who states: “Herewith you will find an open testimonial which I have drafted in favour of Miss H. They tell me that some people get into the way of discounting to a lesser or greater degree such documents when signed by a padre. I can assure you that I have understated rather than overstated things in what I have said. She is an unusually delightful and strong personality. If her technical qualifications are commensurate with those more personal – and I suppose others are testifying regarding the former – you will do well to appoint her. I am sure she will give the fullest satisfaction. PS. By the way I am not her Minister. I am the Superintendent of the Liverpool Seamen’s Friend Society, the Gordon Smith Institute.”


Matron’s Reports NHNN/N/3/2

Cicely U Tafe – reports from 21 May 1929 to 22 May 1945

‘The question of the patients’ smoking in the new building (note: Queen Mary Wing) has arisen and I shall be glad to receive instructions. On the second floor there is a dayroom and the rules can remain the same as in the old building, but the other floors are without dayrooms. The surgical patients are so often comforted by a smoke, would it be possible to have certain hours of smoking in the wards. Such as 7-8am, 1-2pm, 6-7pm? Presumably the patients in the single wards will be allowed to smoke at any time.’

On This Day is a diary of day to day life in the Hospital covering 1859 to the 1940’s.

Extracts are taken from the staff records, letters, the reports of the Matron and the Lady Superintendent, and the minutes of the Board of Management and the Medical Committee. They were compiled with the help of Janet Townsend, Frankie Alves, Louise Shepherd, Michael Clark and Liz Yamada

The item of the month also contains items highlighted by archive staff.