fonds NHS/MON - St Monica's Hospital, Easingwold, Archive

Identity area

Reference code



St Monica's Hospital, Easingwold, Archive


  • 1949-[1990s] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.09 cubic metres

1 box and 14 rolls

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

St Monica’s was founded in 1893 as a voluntary hospital, called ‘The Easingwold and District St Monica’s Cottage Hospital’, serving parishes in the Easingwold Rural District. The hospital was built at the expense of Mrs Katherine Love of The Hawkhills, Easingwold. Joseph Horatio Love, a Durham Colliery owner, had bought The Hawkhills estate in 1873, and the Love family were considerable local benefactors.

The hospital was probably built and opened in 1894. The architects were Messrs Wood and Ainslie. It was built in red brick, with oak half timbered gables and a red tiled roof. It was designed for six patients. A main block contained wards and bedrooms. In addition to the usual domestic facilities, there was a surgery or operating room, a private room for a matron or superintendent, and a mortuary, ambulance-place, laundry and outbuildings.

The hospital was funded through local subscribers, but also by the contributions of patients. Subscribers were entitled to recommend one patient for admission for every 10/- subscribed. Letters of recommendation had to be signed by local practitioners. All patients were entitled to two weeks in hospital, but a longer stay, was possible with further letters of recommendation, although more than eight weeks was regarded as exceptional. Patients’ contributions ranged from at least 2/6 per week, with subscribers recommending the sum which a patient was able to pay. Private patients were taken at not less than a guinea per week, and servants and resident farm workers were taken as private patients for fees graded according to the rental of the house where they worked. One bed was reserved for non-paying patients recommended by the lady president, Mrs Love.

The management of the hospital was in the hands of an executive committee of 12, including both men and women, three quarters of whom were subscribers of 10/- or more. The executive committee was elected by a general committee, which included not only individual subscribers but also parish representatives, from parishes where subscriptions totalled £10 or more. The officers of the hospital were the lady president, vice presidents, treasurer and secretaries. They, and the local doctors resident in the district, were ex-officio members of the executive committee. The hospital was supervised by a matron, who was a trained nurse.

The bed complement remained at six in the early twentieth century and the average yearly number of patients treated was around 60. In 1938 there were still only six beds, and in that year 95 patients were treated and fourteen operations were performed. The six local doctors attended their own patients, but specialists came from Leeds to perform major operations. There were three nurses, including the sister-in charge, who had the function of matron. As a small cottage hospital, performing useful medical and surgical work, it had an important role within the local community, a point underlined by the Hospital survey of 1945, which stated that it was ‘difficult to overestimate’ the value of such institutions in a hospital scheme.

St Monica’s became part of the NHS in 1948, within York ‘A’ Group of hospitals. It was said in 1949 to be ‘well equipped but inadequately staffed’. Within a year, staffing was reorganised, so that greater numbers of patients could be treated. The bed complement was eight in 1950, increased to nine by 1952. It was fully used, for both general cases and chronic sick patients, with around 90-100 in patient discharges per year in the 1950s, and between 20 and 50 minor operations performed annually. In the early 1960s, discharges per year fell slightly to around 50-70, but minor operations increased to around 40-70 annually. Casualty attendances were around 400-800 per year in the early 1960s. Physiotherapy treatment was being given to patients by the early 1960s: 19 patients received physiotherapy in 1961 and 275 did so in 1962.

Extensive alterations and repairs were undertaken in 1955, when the hospital briefly closed for a few weeks, reopening with modernised wards, kitchen and other services. The hospital briefly closed again in a flu epidemic in 1957. A number of other improvements were made to the building and services in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A day room was built in 1967 and a new physiotherapy unit was opened in 1970, which was funded by money raised by the Friends of St Monica’s Hospital, founded in 1969.

The Friends have continued to be very active in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In the early 1990s a successful appeal raised £150,000 for a new occupational therapy unit and extension and refurbishment programme. These major additions to the hospital included the demolition of the former day room and a ward to create a purpose built occupational therapy department, two new wards, bathroom and toilet facilities and a new day room. While work went on, the staff and patients were temporarily transferred to empty wards at nearby Claypenny Hospital. The extensions were officially opened in October 1993, the centenary year of St Monica’s.

Further fundraising by the Friends has financed a day room extension in 1994, and the addition of two single rooms in 1997. The Friends have also raised money for hospital equipment, including an electrocardiograph machine, resuscitation machines, a defibrillator, physiotherapy equipment and wheelchairs.

St Monica’s had 11 beds in the early 1990s - the smallest hospital in North Yorkshire. In 1997 there were 12 short stay beds, and the hospital offered a range of in-patient and day services for the local community, including respite care, terminal care, minor casualty treatment, facilities for convalescence, and rehabilitation and physiotherapy. It offers access to a number of medical facilities on a local basis: for example, in 1996, a community ultrasound service was introduced at the hospital. I

Today St Monica's is a 12 bedded inpatient unit providing rehabilitation, palliative and general nursing and medical care and day care including physiotherapy and occupational therapy to patients in the local community over the age of 18.

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. A further addition was made to the archive in 2014.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Photograph of exterior of hospital, 1990s; land and building records, comprising plans and drawings, 1949-c.1984.


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. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

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 Health Archive Private Deposits which includes an offprint of an article from the local Easingwold newspaper of 1892, giving details of its setting up and organisation. A one page history of the hospital by Canon A.C.A. Smith, Vicar of Easingwold, appeared in York Health District Newsletter, June 1977, a copy of which can be found in the archive of York Health District. For the development of St Monica’s post-1948, see the archives of York ‘A’ Group Hospital Management Committee and its successors, in particular its annual reports, 1948-1973, and articles appearing from time to time in York Health Authority’s, later York Health Trust’s magazine 'Pulse.'

Additionally, St Monica’s appears in the Hospital Survey for the Yorkshire Area, by Sir Herbert Eason, R. Veich Clark and W.H. Harper published by HMSO, Ministry of Health (1945). A copy is available at York Explore.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Name access points

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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