fonds NHS/SEL - Selby War Memorial Hospital Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Selby War Memorial Hospital Archive


  • 1927-2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.02 cubic metres

1 box

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Selby War Memorial Hospital was opened in 1927 as a small voluntary hospital serving Selby and district. It was not, however, the first voluntary medical institution to be established in Selby.

Two dispensaries were established in Selby in the late nineteenth century. The first, Brooke Dispensary was opened in 1874 or 1875, funded under the will of Mrs Jane Brooke of Gateforth House, Brayton. It was situated in a house in Gowthorpe, and its purpose was to provide medical and surgical assistance to inhabitants of Selby who were not in receipt of poor relief. The dispensary was also supported by subscriptions. There was a resident assistant medical officer who lived above the dispensary.

A second dispensary, the Liversidge Dispensary, was opened in c.1889, founded by William Liversidge JP. It was supported by subscriptions and managed by local Wesleyan Methodists, who formed the governing body, although the charity treated any poor people, except paupers, regardless of religious affiliation. The governing body engaged a doctor, who was paid per case attended, and the dispensary was run from the doctor’s surgery. 126 cases were treated during 1895. The Liversidge Dispensary continued up to 1948, when the new NHS made its services redundant (it has however since continued as a charitable fund).

In 1901, Selby gained its first cottage hospital. This was founded under the bequests of Thomas and Ann Gouldsborough, who both left money to the Brooke Dispensary, and empowered the dispensary trustees to found a cottage hospital attached to the dispensary. The Selby Cottage Hospital was built in New Lane, and the Brooke Dispensary moved to the same premises. In 1907 an additional ward for women and children, the Standering Memorial Ward, along with an operating theatre, mortuary and other offices, was opened, funded by Miss Standering of St James Terrace, Selby. In 1928 702 patients attended the Brooke Dispensary and Cottage Hospital. It seems to have been superseded, however, by Selby War Memorial Hospital, and does not appear to have been in existence by 1936.

The Selby War Memorial Hospital was purpose built, to a design by Leslie Moore, architect. It had an ‘unusual plan’, being built in an approximate ‘V’ shape, with the administrative and domestic quarters in the centre and ward blocks, forming the arms of the ‘V’, at angles to one another. Wards and administrative services were on the ground floor while staff bedrooms were situated upstairs. The plan was designed to allow ‘good aspect to all departments’. The hospital also contained an out-patients department and surgical facilities. One of the two ward wings had still not been built in 1929, and when completed was slightly smaller than on the original plan.

The hospital had 31 beds in 1938, and it was normally about three quarters full. It was said to be ‘reserved almost entirely for surgery and accidents’. It was staffed by all local GPs, who also attended accident cases on a rota basis and performed minor surgery. Visiting consultants dealt with major surgery, and with cancer cases, while ear, nose and throat cases were sent to Leeds. The hospital was equipped with an X-ray department. The hospital was noted by the Hospital Survey of 1945 as being a ‘good hospital’ although the surveyors thought it would be more useful if its staffing arrangements were strengthened and better organised.

In 1948 Selby War Memorial Hospital became part of the NHS under the Goole, Howden and Selby Hospital Management Committee. By 1964 it had 24 acute beds. In 1966 the Goole, Howden and Selby HMC was disbanded and Selby became part of York ‘A’ Group Hospital Management Committee. It was described in 1966 as a small general hospital with medical and surgical beds and an operating theatre, and out-patient, casualty, physiotherapy and X-ray departments.

Planned developments at the hospital in 1966 included the further improvement of the casualty department which had been extended in 1965-6. However, before this began, the hospital suffered a major fire, after a blowlamp set fire to the roof during external repainting. The centre of the hospital was severely damaged and, although the ward blocks, theatres, X-ray and casualty departments escaped, all services were put out of action. In-patients were transferred to other hospitals, mainly in York and Goole, while the hospital was repaired, although the out-patients, X-ray and physiotherapy departments continued to function. After reconstruction, the hospital was fully reopened in 1967. The planned upgrading of the casualty department followed: this was officially opened in March 1969, and comprised a new entrance, treatment and dressing rooms and new services. Generous financial help towards the upgrading was provided by the Station Inn Social Club in Selby, which became the Selby and District Welfare Fund. This was one continuing channel of local support for the hospital; another, in the shape of a League of Friends, was founded in the early 1970s.

In 1973 the hospital had 14 beds, and that year there were 447 discharges and deaths, and 3,356 out-patients. Further improvements to the fabric and facilities continued through the 1970s, including a major extension in 1973 comprising a new 24 bedded ward, built at a cost of £100,000 (£5,000 provided by Selby and District Welfare Fund). This was to house elderly patients formerly accommodated at Longwood Hospital in Selby, which closed in 1973. The total number of beds in 1978 was 44.

There was much discussion about the redevelopment of Selby War Memorial Hospital in the early 1980s in order to increase the health care services available for the population in the south of York Health District. Although plans were revised and altered during the 1980s and 1990s, some significant additions have resulted. A day hospital, with physiotherapy and occupational therapy facilities, was officially opened, in a former small disused ward, in November 1981, as an extension to the facilities provided by the GP ward. A new out-patients department, comprising three consulting suites, a new ultrasound room, medical records facilities and a treatment room was opened in December 1989, to replace the former, inadequate, accommodation. This was one of a three phased package of developments to improve health services in Selby in this period: the other two elements being a redevelopment of Raincliffe Street Clinic in Selby, which was extended and refurbished in 1989, and the construction of a community unit for the elderly, Worsley Court, built on land adjacent to the hospital and opened in 1991, offering residential, day and respite care for the confused elderly.

During the 1980s and 1990s voluntary efforts also financed small extensions to the hospital; in the early 1990s, a programme of refurbishment included a new reception area and new kitchen and dining room. In 1998 Abbey Ward was completely refurbished, and in addition some services, including chiropody, speech and language therapy, community health and dental services, were relocated to the hospital, in preparation for the closure of Raincliffe Street Clinic.

By the late 1990s Selby War Memorial Hospital provided a wide range of services to the population of c.40,000 in the Selby area. These included clinics, physiotherapy, a day hospital service (Bridge Day Hospital), minor injuries and X-ray services. It had 40 beds, divided between a ward under the care of GPs (Abbey Ward) and a ward under the care of a consultant for elderly services (Castle Ward).

Management transferred to the Selby and York Primary Care Trust in April 2001. In 2008 the Selby Community Project was launched with the intention of relocating and rebuilding the War Memorial Hospital, which would also incorporate the services of the Raincliffe Street Clinic. Work began in 2010 and in 2011 the new hospital, named the New Selby War Memorial Hospital, was officially opened. The site of the old hospital was later demolished to make way for a car park.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The book of press cuttings 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. The commemorative brochure was deposited by the Friends of Selby War Memorial Hospital in 2002. A further deposit was made by the hospital in 2011.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

In-patients registers, 1951-1956; press cuttings, 1973-1976, and commemorative brochure, 2002.


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

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. This includes all material received up to and including 2002.

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 the records of York A Group Hospital Management Committee which include a photograph of the hospital, salary books, 1965-1970, and wage books, 1966-1970. There is also a modern copy photograph of the hospital in 1927 in York Health Archives Private Deposits.

Notes area

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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