The archive of Sefton General Hospital is a valuable source for the genealogist. In particular, admission, discharge and creed registers contain valuable information such as date of birth, addresses and names of next of kin. The maternity records are also a major strength of the archive. The administrative and financial records are by no means complete, but do provide a valuable insight into the running of the hospital. The volumes relating to training of student nurses give information relating to the background of pupils and reflect attitudes very different to those of today. The volumes relating to mental health will also be of interest. There are also records relating to servicemen treated in Liverpool during the 1939-45 war (see 614SEF/1 & 5).
The archive is arranged as follows, but readers are advised to read the headnote of each section as cross-referencing to other items of interest is included at this level.
Liverpool Record Office and Merseyside Record Office hold significant collections of hospital records. For a comprehensive guide to holdings in this region readers are advised to consult Public Health on Merseyside: A Guide to Sources, Edited by Margaret Procter with an Introduction by Adrian Allan, Merseyside Archives Liaison Group, 1991. Readers are advised to consult individual repositories for information regarding more recent accessions. Liverpool Record Office holds a substantial amount of secondary source material relating to health and hospitals in the region, including books, photographs and health service reports.
The majority of the collection is in reasonable condition, however, many of the volumes are very large, heavy and extremely dirty.
Records that do not contain sensitive personal data of individuals are open to any accredited reader. Those records containing the sensitive personal data of adults are not available for 75 years. Those records containing the sensitive personal data of children or the health records of adults are not available for public inspection for 100 years. This is in accordance with Section 1 (Principles 1, 2 and 7) of the Data Protection Act 1998. Permission to consult closed patient and staff records must be obtained from the Chief Executive, Royal Liverpool University and Broadgreen Hospitals NHS Trust, Prescot Street, Liverpool, L7 8XP. Permission to consult closed maternity or gynaecological records must be obtained from the Legal Services Manager, Liverpool Obstetrics and Gynaecology Services NHS Trust, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Crown Street, Liverpool City Council, L8 7SS.
Immediate source of acquisition:
The Health Records Survey Team and Adrian Allen of Liverpool University surveyed the records of the hospital on site in 1981. A full listing of records can be found at 614SEF/8/8. This listing provides valuable insight into the record keeping practices of the hospital. The archive was deposited at Liverpool Record Office in two separate accessions in 1983 and 1986, but readers should note that not all of the documents listed in 1981 have survived.
Administrative / biographical background:
Sefton General Hospital was originally part of Toxteth Park Workhouse, which was part of the West Derby Union. In 1930 the Union was disbanded due to the abolition of the poor law, and the hospital, which was now administered by Liverpool Corporation, changed its name to Smithdown Road Infirmary. At the end of the Second World War the hospital had over 1,000 beds and came under the care of the National Health Service in 1948. It had a large maternity section and also cared for the mentally ill. By the 1970s the number of beds had been halved and the hospital eventually closed in the 1990s. The buildings have now been demolished with only the Smithdown Minor Injury Unit for Children surviving on the site.
Changes in legislation relating to the organisation of local government and to various aspects of the Health Service had a bearing on the record keeping practices of the organisation. These should be borne in mind when consulting the archive.