fonds NHS/BUB - Bubwith Hostel Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Bubwith Hostel Archive


  • 1954-1963 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.02 cubic metres

1 box

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Bubwith Hostel was built in 1941. It was used initially to accommodate prisoners of war and was subsequently used by the Women's Land Army. Later, and until 31 March 1951, it became one of the nationwide group of hostels jointly controlled by County Executive Agricultural Committees and the National Association for Mental Health, offering sheltered accommodation plus employment in agriculture for 'high grade' mental defectives.

It became NHS on 1 April 1951 and was administered by York 'B' Group which also acquired similar hostels at Ripon and Tadcaster at the same time (see Tadcaster and Ripon Hostels). Between them these three hostels provided accommodation for 80 men who were fit to work but required home supervision. The integration of the hostels into York 'B' Group meant that more 'high grade' male admissions were able to be accepted at Whixley Colony, to which all three hostels were attached.

On 1 April 1951 there were only 57 men resident in the three hostels and new admissions were sought. These were accepted not only from the 'B' Group catchment area but also from elsewhere in the Leeds Hospital Region and sometimes from even further afield. Patients were housed at the hostels to see if they were capable of earning a living. If so, they would be ultimately discharged; however, some patients remained at the hostel indefinitely. Each hostel was supervised by a resident warden.

After the transfer to Bubwith Hostel of some patients from Ripon Hostel (which was subsequently used for women), Bubwith was filled to capacity, with as many as 42 patients in 1952. Employment offered was on the land, although opportunities for casual farm labour were decreasing in the early 1950s and work was undertaken for the various drainage boards instead. Wages were paid to the men, subject to deductions for board and lodging. At the hostel social activities were provided, and patients either took holidays with relatives or went to a seaside camp for two weeks each summer. Evening classes were introduced (with limited success at first) in the early 1950s.

During the 1950s extensive improvements to the fabric of the building were undertaken, and the interior was upgraded and made more comfortable. A small extension was built to provide a sitting room for the warden in 1954, and a small flat was set aside for a resident deputy warden in 1956. Reconstruction work in the latter year also meant that extra beds could be added to the total accommodation.

By the mid 1950s the type of resident patient at Bubwith had begun to change. It was noted in 1957 that although patients were accepted from all over the country it was difficult to obtain enough residents capable of outside employment. Consequently, it was decided to concentrate working patients at Tadcaster Hostel and to use the spare accommodation at Bubwith for well behaved patients capable of light work in the house and garden. By the end of 1959, only one small party of men from Bubwith was working with the internal drainage boards, while one or two men still worked for local farmers and it was noted that in the future Bubwith would probably cease to have any working patients and become in most respects another ordinary ward of Whixley Hospital. Due to the changing nature of the hostel, staffing increased: two additional nursing assistants were engaged in 1959.

The bed complement rose from 40 in 1954 to 44 in 1956. These were filled more or less to capacity. By the mid 1960s Bubwith was housing mainly geriatric-type patients transferred from Whixley, and also from Claypenny Hospital. By 1971 population at all three York 'B' Group Hostels had become static, because it was difficult to persuade patients at the main hospitals to be transferred to the hostels. A 'League of Friends' was formed for Bubwith Hostel in 1972. Friends acted as visitors for those without friends or relatives and also organised a variety of social activities.

Bubwith became part of York Health District after NHS reorganisation in 1974, but it was transferred, along with Rawcliffe Hall Hospital, to Scunthorpe Health District, in Humberside Area Health Authority, in 1976. It had 36 beds in 1980.

The hostel closed on 30 April 1981.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 1995 as part of the transfer of York Health Archives to the Institute from their temporary home at Clifton Hospital.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Land and building records, comprising letters and papers relating to alterations and improvements, 1954-1963.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

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 Borthwick Institute for 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 Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For related material held by the Borthwick Institute, see Claypenny Hospital Archive and Clifton Hospital Archive. Also useful are the records of York B Group Hospital Management Committee and its successors, in particular its biennial reports, 1948-1974, which give an overview of the hostel's development.

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

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Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



Accession area

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