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Barnet General Hospital

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Alternative name(s):
  • Barnet Public Assistance Institution (Formerly known as)
  • Wellhouse Hospital, Barnet (Formerly known as)
  • Barnet Union Workhouse (Formerly known as)
  • Barnet Hospital (Later known as)
  • Barnet Poor Law Institution (Formerly known as)
Date: 1835-1987
History: The Barnet Union Workhouse, with its infirmary, was built at the end of West End Lane and the south side of Well House Lane in 1836-1837 by the Barnet Board of Guardians. It opened in 1838 for 200 inmates, serving the parishes of Chipping Barnet, East Barnet, Elstree, Ridge, Shenley and Totteridge in Hertfordshire, as well as the parishes of Finchley, Friern, Barnet, Hadley and South Mimms in Middlesex. Additional infirmary blocks were built in 1886, 1895 and 1901. A further hospital block, including an operating theatre, was begun by the Guardians in 1915, but actually completed by the Army Council who opened it as Barnet War Hospital in 1916 for the care and treatment of sick and wounded soldiers. In 1919 the running of the hospital was handed back to the Barnet Board of Guardians, who re-named it Wellhouse Hospital and had it officially opened in 1920, providing 204 beds for patients. In 1930 control passed to Hertfordshire County Council following the abolition of the poor law unions. During World War II the hospital became a base for St Bartholomew's and Royal Free Hospital under the Emergency Medical Scheme, during which time additional hut wards were built.

After the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948 Wellhouse Hospital was run by the Barnet Group Hospital Committee in the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. It provided 475 beds for patients. It was subsequently re-named Barnet General Hospital in 1950. In 1974 it passed into the Barnet District Health Authority within the North West Thames Regional Health Authority. Following reforms of the NHS it became part of the Wellhouse NHS Trust in 1992, and from 1999 it was part of Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust. During the 1990s new departmental buildings, specialist units and wards were built, with the old hut wards being demolished. The original workhouse building was demolished in 2002 to create car-parking space. The new hospital, renamed Barnet Hospital, was opened in February 2003.

  • Barnet, Hertfordshire
Sources of authority: Poor Law Amendment Act 1834; Local Government Act 1929; National Service Health Act 1946
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
History Links: webpage for Barnet Hospital
Historical context: Union workhouses were set up following the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834. There was no initial requirement for the boards of guardians to build infirmaries for the provision of health care, although many workhouses did have sick wards, which were poorly equipped and usually had no nursing staff, in which case care was provided by fit inmates. By 1842 it was generally recognised by most that some form of medical provision was necessary. Hospital workhouses were not permitted to turn away any patient, however ill, unlike voluntary hospitals which refused to deal with the long term chronically sick or those with infectious diseases. In 1929 the poor law unions were abolished, and control of the workhouses or poor law institutions and their infirmaries passed to the appropriate County Council, when they were largely re-named public assistance institutions. On 5 July 1948 the public assistance institutions and their hospitals were taken over by the newly formed National Health Service.
References: Hosprec database; Burdetts and Hospital Yearbooks 1901-1999; A2A catalogue; Lost Hospitals of London website
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C35744 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O93100 )
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1970-80: registers and maternity records
London Metropolitan Archives: City of London
See Annual return 2000
1835-1987: minutes, correspondence files, title deeds and related documents, accounts, admission and discharge registers, birth, death, operation and creed registers, and other patient records
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
1944-1946: outpatient registers
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
The workhouse with its infirmary was established and administered by the Belper Union.
The Barnet Public Assistance Institution was managed by hertfordshire County Council
Barnet General Hospital was part of the North West Metropolitan Regional Health Authority
Barnet General Hospital was part of the North West Thames Regional Hospital Board.