TitleNorthern General Hospital, Sheffield
AdminHistoryPrevious names:
Sheffield Union Workhouse, or Fir Vale Workhouse, 1878 - 1906
Sheffield Union Hospital or Fir Vale Hospital; and Fir Vale Institution or Fir Vale House (workhouse), 1906 - 1930
City General Hospital; and Fir Vale Infirmary, 1930 - 1967
Northern General Hospital, 1967 - 1991
Northern General Hospital NHS Trust 1991 - date

The Northern General Hospital has its origins in the hospital of Sheffield Poor Law Union workhouse, erected in 1878-1880.
Before the creation of the Sheffield Poor Law Union in 1837, the workhouse for the township of Sheffield was in Kelham Street. That building, originally erected in 1811 as a cotton mill, had been converted in 1829 for use as a workhouse to accommodate some 1,200 inmates. It had no special provision for the sick except for an isolation unit provided during the cholera epidemic of 1832.

Due to opposition from ratepayers, plans drawn up in 1856 for a new workhouse for Sheffield Union were not put into action until 1878, when the foundation stone of the new buildings at Fir Vale was laid. The completed buildings, formally opened in September 1881, comprised six separate departments: the main building to accommodate 1,662 paupers, plus officials; asylums to accommodate 200 patients classed as lunatic; a school for 300 pauper children; vagrants wards to take up to 60 men and 20 women; the hospital block to cater for 366 patients; and the fever hospitals. Management was in the hands of the Board of Guardians and its various committees, which in the 1880s had established a training school for nurses and a midwifery school.

Overcrowding caused by the numbers of children was addressed by setting up a boarding out system in 1888, and by opening a children's hospital, for up to 60, in 1894. A Lock ward or Lock hospital for treating women with venereal diseases also existed in the 1890s. A new 3-storey hospital block was completed in 1906 and on 21 March 1906 the Local Government Board issued an order to formally separate the newly named Sheffield Union Hospital (which by then could accommodate 643 patients) from the workhouse, thereafter known as Fir Vale Institution. Over the next few years Sheffield Union Hospital became known as 'Fir Vale Hospital'. The workhouse became Fir Vale Institution, though 'Fir Vale House' was the name generally used for the institution premises accommodating geriatric patients and those classed as mental defectives. Belgian refugees were temporarily housed at Fir Vale during World War I, and over 15,000 soldiers, including men from the Sheffield Battalion who had been wounded on the Somme, were treated in a new children's hospital which had opened in 1916. Military patients remained until 1920 and it was not until 1921 that the children's hospital received its first children.

Following the Local Government Act of 1929 and the demise of the old poor law administration, from 1 April 1930 Fir Vale Hospital and Fir Vale House ceased to be managed by the Poor Law Board of Guardians and their Hospital Committee. The hospital was transferred to the City Council for the sick inhabitants of the city under the Public Health Act, 1875, and was administered through the Hospitals Subcommittee of the Health Committee. As a result, patients were no longer admitted as 'necessitous persons' under the Poor Law Act, 1927, but upon medical certificate, except for 'neccessitous sick persons' for whom the Public Assistance Committee was responsible. A new entrance way and lodge were built and from that date (1930) the name was changed to the 'City General Hospital'.

Fir Vale House (then with 936 inmates) was transferred to the Public Assistance Committee and renamed 'Fir Vale Infirmary' (for the care of the aged and chronic infirm), though the name 'institution' lingered for some years. During World War II numbers of its inmates were temporarily transferred to the Grenoside Institution when the hospital premises were designated as an Emergency Medical Service Hospital. No casualties from the war front were admittted until 1944 when 992 service cases and 405 prisoners of war were treated.

After the war, the National Health Service Act of 1946 established the administrative basis for all hospitals, municipal and voluntary alike. The City General Hospital and Fir Vale Infirmary were from 1948 both managed by the Sheffield No 1 Hospital Management Committee of the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board. From then on, the City General Hospital moved towards specialisation and the first full time anaesthetists in Italy were trained there. During the 1950s cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery commenced and in 1955 the hospital performed the first heart valve replacement operation in the world; in 1957 one of the first open heart operations in Europe was conducted here. It provided medical and surgical wards, children's hospital, maternity hospital, casualty and orthopaedic departments. 'Casualty' became later known as 'Accident and Emergency ' and the hospital now houses the Accident and Emergency Department for Sheffield; in 1989, following the Hillsborough Disaster at Sheffield Wednesday football ground, the A&E Dept was the main receiving department for the injured.

The City General Hospital and the Fir Vale Infirmary were run as separate institutions until 1 April 1967 when the Hospital (then with 654 beds) and the Infirmary (then with 682 beds) were amalgamated under the title of the 'Northern General Hospital'. Fir Vale Infirmary was to be known as the Geriatric Wing and the City General Hospital as the General and Maternity Wing. In 1968 a League of Friends was established to harness local support and raise additional funds.

Teaching was long a key function of the hospital and this was recognised when it, together with Nether Edge Hospital, was awarded university teaching status in 1971 by the NHS (North Sheffield University Hospital Designation) Order, 1970. Both hospitals were then managed by the North Sheffield University Hospital Management Committee, which was responsible to the Regional Hospital Board. This administrative structure continued until reorganisation of the NHS in 1974 abolished the Hospital Management Committees and Regional Boards; the hospital's management thereafter devolved to the newly created Northern (Teaching) District of Sheffield Area Health Authority, itself responsible to Trent Regional Health Authority (RHA).

Further reorganisation of the NHS in 1982 abolished one tier of management, and responsiblity for the hospital's administration was thus brought under Sheffield Health Authority of Trent RHA (from 1996 NHS Executive Trent). The hospital was one of the first Trust Hospitals created under the NHS and Community Care Act, 1990, and from 1991 it was designated the Northern General Hospital NHS Trust. It assumed responsibility for King Edward VII Hospital at Rivelin, Sheffield, and the Spinal Injuries Unit at Lodge Moor Hospital in 1991, and those facilities were subsequently transferred into new premises at the NGH NHS Trust. On 1 April 2001 the Northern General Hospital NHS Trust merged with the Central Sheffield University Hospitals NHS Trust to form the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which gained Foundation status on 1 July 2004.

The NHS reorganisation in 2002 resulted in the abolition of Trent RHA and the creation of South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA), which itself was replaced from 1 July 2006 by the Yorkshire and the Humber Strategic Health Authority, formed from the amalgamation of South Yorkshire SHA, the North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire SHA and West Yorkshire SHA.

The Northern General Hospital is (2006) the largest hospital campus within the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with over 1,100 beds. In fact, it is one of the largest hospitals in the UK and a leading teaching unit with a growing international reputation, which in c.2001 received NHS investment of £90 million for projects designed to expand and improve services still further.
DescriptionRecords of the Northern General Hospital and its predecessor institutions including

Administration 1950 - 2001
NHS2/1/1 City General Hospital House Committee minutes, 1950 - 1962
NHS2/1/2 City General Hospital House Committee agendas and reports, 1952 - 1956
NHS2/1/3 Correspondence, 1952 - 1957
NHS2/1/4 Report of the Inquiry Committee into the computer software error in Downs Syndrome screening, 2001
NHS 2/1/5 Sheffield No. 1 Hospital Management Committee:
NHS 2/1/5/1 Copy minutes, 1951 - 1959
NHS 2/1/5/2 Executive sub-committee copy minutes, 1952 - 1959
NHS 2/1/5/3 Finance sub-committee copy minutes, 1951 - 1959
NHS 2/1/5/4 Fir Vale Infirmary House committee copy minutes, 1952 - 1953
NHS2/1/5/5 Nether Edge Hospital House committee copy minutes, 1951 - 1953
NHS2/1/6 Visitor books (Central Sterile Supply Department), 1963 - 1979
NHS2/1/7 Publicity and Events (Newscuttings), c. 1956 - 1985

Finance 1946 - 1956
NHS2/2/1 Cash accounts, 1946 - 1956

Chaplaincy 1970 - 1991
NHS2/3/1 Registers of baptisms, 1910 - 1973
NHS2/3/2 Registers of services, 1956 - 1991
NHS2/3/3 Chaplain's papers, [1963 - 1964]

Stores and Equipment 1903 - 1963
NHS2/4/1 Inventories, 1961 - 1963
NHS2/4/2 Provisions, 1950 - 1951
NHS2/4/3 Goods supplied to Children's Homes , 1903 - 1964

Establishment 1906 - 1977
NHS/2/5/1 Nurse training, 1968
NHS2/5/2 Registers of Nurses, 1906 - 1960
NHS2/5/3 Registers of Nursing Sisters, 1916 - 1960
NHS2/5/4 Record Books of Part-time Nurses, Part-time Midwives and Part and Full-time SEAN Nurses [state enrolled assistant nurses], 1948 - 1960
NHS2/5/5 Miscellaneous Staff Records, 1936 - 1977

Patients 1906 - 2000
NHS2/6/1 Operations books, 1906 - 1930
NHS2/6/2 Vaccinator's registers, 1906 - 1915
NHS2/6/3 Post mortem examination report books, 1927 - 1936
NHS2/6/4 Patients' property, 1943 - 1975
NHS2/6/5 Creed registers and index books (males), 1946 - 1967
NHS2/6/6 Creed registers and index books (females), 1946 - 1963
NHS2/6/7 Registers of Lunatics, 1939 - 1941
NHS2/6/8 X-ray registers, 1939 - 1941
NHS2/6/9 Maternity Unit, 1984 - 2000
NHS2/6/9/1 Birth registers, 1984 - 2000
NHS2/6/9/2 Birth register indexes, 1996 - 1997

Hillsborough Disaster 1989
NHS2/7 Records created during the Hillsborough Disaster, 1989

Miscellaneous medical records [unidentified hospitals/medical establishments], 1882 - 1947
NHS2/8 Records of unidentified medical establishments deposited by the Northern General Hospital in 2007 where connection (if any) with the Northern General Hospital is unclear, 1882 - 1957
Date1906 - 2001
Extent210 items
AccessConditionsInformation in patient and staff records is subject to access restrictions under the Data Protection Act, or may be subject to exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act. For further information please refer to a member of staff.
RelatedMaterialMinutes of Sheffield Poor Law Union, 1890 - 1930 (CA692/1-35; CA24)
NB The majority of records of Sheffield Poor Law Union were destroyed in the air raids of 1940.

References in casebooks of House of Help for Women and Girls to women with venereal disease being sent to or from the Lock Ward or Hospital at Fir Vale (Sheffield Union Workhouse infirmary), 1890s (e.g. X158/5/1/2)

Punishment book, 1903-1927; reconstruction of costs of dietary of 1913, [1979]; amended workhouse dietary, 1919; copy of Hadden's Ingredient Calculator (ready reckoner used in food preparation, c.1900 (CA510)

Reduced photograph of plan (1907) of Fir Vale Institution and Sheffield Union Hospital site, with blocks named (MD6622)

Firvale Sanatorium School log book, 1919 - 1923 (CA35/66)

Report of the Medical Superintendent of Fir Vale Hospital, 1929 (CA640/8)

Particulars of Sheffield Union Institutional Accommodation including Fir Vale and Nether Edge Hospitals, 1929 (CA640/11)

Memoranda on admissions to Fir Vale and Nether Edge Hospitals following transfer of their administration to the Corporation, 1929 (CA640/25)

Sheffield Public Assistance Committee minutes (CA41; CA186)

Sheffield City Council Health Committee minutes, 1930-1948 (CA112/29-32)

City General Hospital and Firvale House: byelaw building plans, 1932 - 1939, 1957 (CA206/34359)

Papers of Olive Crossley, MBE, RN and certified midwife, who trained at City General Hospital, including nurses training school pamphlet; Miss Beachams midwifery lecture notebook 1934; exam papers; letters re training & certificate of registration 1938-39 (1999/60)

Sheffield Regional Hospital Board minutes, 1948 - 1974 (NHS27)

Sheffield No 1 Hospital Management Committee, North Sheffield University Hospital Management Committee, 1948 - 1974 (NHS35)

Sheffield Area Health Authority: Northern (Teaching) District minutes, 1974 - 1982 (NHS31)

Northern General Hospital, League of Friends records, 1968 - 2002 (LD2535; 2000/27)

Maternity discharge registers of cases admitted from Nether Edge Hospital and Northern General Hospital, 1976-1982 (NHS12)

[Also: Sheffield Poor Law Union correspondence and papers, ref MH 12, at The National Archives]
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