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The North Wales Hospital

North East Wales Archives holds the main collection of records for the North Wales Hospital. The collection is one of the most comprehensive examples of asylum records in the country.

Originally known as the North Wales County Lunatic Asylum when it opened in 1848, the asylum was the first institution of its kind to care for the mentally ill in North Wales. During its nearly 150 year history up to its closure in 1995, thousands of patients had passed through its doors.

For more information on history of the hospital please see the full catalogue.  

What records can I find at my North East Wales Archive branch?

The Ruthin Branch holds the North Wales Hosptial collection.

For a comprehensive catalogue of the collection, and to find out more about individual items available please see the full catalogue.

The Hawarden branch holds a small number of records relating to the hospital including plans and agreements.

Management and Administration Records

There are records which relate to the management and running of the hospital. These include committee minutes, annual reports, rules and procedures, memoranda, agreements and correspondence.

Building Records

The collection contains records relating to the building and development of the hospital. These include records relating to the initial building of the hospital, water supply records, records of the hospital farm, rainfall records, and maps and plans.

Financial Records

There are records relating to the financial history of the hospital. These include records of various accounts including the maintenance account, building account, patient accounts and charity accounts. The collection also includes ledgers, journals, cash books, and financial statements.

Patient Records

The collection contains records relating to patients, including indexes, admission registers, registers of discharges and deaths, case files dating to 1948, medical registers, and daily returns of patient numbers. The collection also includes approximately 30,000 patient case files dating from 1948 to the closure of the hospital in 1995.

An index of the patient reception orders dating from 1848 to 1914 can be found online. See the collection catalogue for an index to these records.

Staff Records

There are records relating to staff, which include staff indexes, registers, individual staff files, wage books, and pension records.

What language were the records written?

The majority of these records are in English. It is our policy to catalogue records in the language they were originally written.

How can I access these records?

The records can be viewed in our Ruthin branch searchroom. Book a place in the search-room today.

Any records which are less than 100 years old and contain sensitive or personal information are closed for 100 years. Access may be granted for academic research. See our hospital record access conditions for further details.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Gwynedd Record Office

Gwynedd Record Office (Caernarfon) holds a sample of North Wales Hospital patient records (post 1948) for patients living in the Gwynnedd/Anglesey area only.

The National Archives

The National Archives holds records of the Ministry of Health and related bodies. See their online research guide for further details.

Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library holds Medical Officer of Health Reports for areas around the UK, including Denbighshire. The reports include details of the North Wales Hospital.

For further details of records available in other archives and organisations please see our full catalogue.