fonds NHS/MIL - Military Hospital, York, Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Military Hospital, York, Archive


  • 1961-1976 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.02 cubic metres

1 box

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Military Hospital, Fulford Road, York, was built in 1862 by the War Department, and subsequent extensions took place in 1879, 1914 and during the Second World War.

In 1949, owing to staff shortages, the War Office proposed to transfer patients from the Military Hospital to Catterick Camp in the North Riding from 1 July 1949, retaining only out patients facilities at the Military Hospital. In view of this proposal, York ‘A’ Group Hospital Management Committee asked Leeds Regional Hospital Board whether the vacant hospital accommodation could be adapted for civilian use. A lease of the hospital for the purposes of York ‘A’ Group was negotiated and arrangements were finalised at a meeting with the military authorities on 15 November 1949. The military would retain one ward of the hospital for their own purposes and York ‘A’ Group would operate a Civilian Wing. The hospital was to be staffed by a military matron and personnel but with civilian nurses in the Civilian Wing.

The Civilian Wing opened on 9 January 1950 with one large ward and operating theatre. Two further wards in the wing opened during 1950. The three wards provided a bed complement of 60.

Military Hospital was used to relieve the pressure on the main general hospitals in a number of ways. It had both medical and surgical beds and it was used for less urgent cases and for post operative cases transferred from City and County Hospitals. Routine and minor surgical operations were also performed, thus enabling waiting lists to be reduced and easing the pressure on surgical facilities elsewhere. Physiotherapy services were available for in patients. No out patient services were operated by York ‘A’ Group at Military Hospital.

From 1956, pupil assistant nurses were sent to Military Hospital from their school at St Mary’s Hospital, to gain surgical experience.

Numbers of patients treated were between 900 and 1000 annually in the early 1950s, numbers briefly dropping in 1955-7 due to restrictions on services while repairs were carried out to the operating theatre and wards. Over 800 operations annually were carried out at the hospital in the early 1950s.

In 1958 the military authorities decided to give up all use of the hospital and the Regional Hospital Board asked York ‘A’ Group in 1959 for a report on the possible future use of the Military Hospital as a whole. The Report, dated 4 February 1959, recommended that the hospital should be retained for civilian use and leased for a further period of years. Active planning was underway for a new District General Hospital for York and it was intended to use Military Hospital until the new hospital was built.

The military authorities vacated ward 2, which was subsequently upgraded and reopened by York ‘A’ Group, raising the bed complement to 88 from 1963 onwards. These 88 beds were in four wards, which during the 1960s were used as two medical and two surgical wards. The hospital continued to be utilised for acute surgical and medical cases and for transfers from the other hospitals of post operative and pre convalescent patients needing a longer stay. Patients treated each year rose from between 700 and 800 in the period 1956 to 1960 to between 1000 and 1200 in the early 1960s, with 600-650 annual operations, both major and minor, in the early 1960s. By 1976, however, the hospital was being used for surgical cases only, and most patients were admitted from the City and County Hospitals, although there were a few direct admissions for minor surgery.

Other parts of the premises vacated by the military in 1959 were adapted for new purposes. Ward 5, a prefabricated building, was renovated for use by the National Hospital Service Reserve as a training ward in 1962. A building at the rear of the hospital was altered and renovated and opened in 1963 as the York School of Occupational Therapy. Trained occupational therapists were in short supply, and York ‘A’ Group Report for 1961/2 noted that when senior staff left they were difficult to replace. The Occupational Therapy School took its first pupils on 17 September 1963 and was officially opened on 8 October 1963. It took between 60 and 70 students for a three year course which included practical experience in hospitals outside the Group. Extensions to the School were completed in 1968, when an unused section of ward 5 was converted as a gym, workroom and kitchen.

Various minor improvements were made to the hospital as a whole during the 1960s: boiler repairs, upgrading of heating and lighting and redecoration. Because the structure of the building was old maintenance costs were relatively high.

The Military Hospital was closed on 4 December 1976, and patients transferred to the new York District Hospital. After closure, the buildings were handed back to the Ministry of Defence. They have subsequently been demolished and the site has been redeveloped.

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 plans and drawings, 1961-1965; patient records, comprising theatre registers, 1962-1976.


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 York County Hospital House Committee minutes, 1962-1970, and the archive of York A Group Hospital Management Committee and its successors, in particular the group's annual reports, 1948-1973. Additionally there is a small private deposit of papers relating to a soldier treated at the Military Hospital, 1916-1917, in York Health Archives Private Deposits.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

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