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Local History Enquiries


As well as plans, drawings, engravings and photographs of the hospitals and their immediate surroundings our records provide occasional evidence of the previous history of hospital sites. Both the John Radcliffe and Warneford Hospitals are built on land which was originally part of the manor of Headington. Plans of Littlemore Hospital show the location of the adjacent railway station, long since disappeared, and the Radcliffe Infirmary’s records throw light on the history of the Radcliffe Observatory.

Members of the local communities and of the University served on committees, were subscribers to the hospitals or supported voluntary activities. Sometimes records throw considerable light on one individual. Rev. Vaughan Thomas (1775-1858), Rector of Yarnton and Stoneleigh, was a member of the Committees of both the Warneford Hospital and the Radcliffe Infirmary, and his strident personality dominates correspondence, Visitors’ Books and other records. The benefactions of William Morris, later Lord Nuffield (1877-1963) appear in the records of several hospitals.

Local tradesmen supplied and served the hospitals, and so accounts and other papers sometimes provide information about them, from builders to butchers.

Sussex, Kent, Surrey and London

In 1843 Samuel Wilson Warneford presented the Broad Estate in Hellingly and adjoining Sussex parishes, together with properties in Kent, Surrey and London, in trust to the Radcliffe Asylum (subsequently named the Warneford Asylum). Consequently a considerable collection of material relating to these properties is preserved among the records of the Warneford Hospital. The documents begin in 1567 and include the Court Books of the Manor of Warlington 1630-1934, and property in the parishes of Hellingly, Hailsham, Arlington, Wartling, Herstmonceux, Pevensey, Ticehurst, Hoe, Henfeild, Peasmarsh, Crowhurst, Franfield, Laughton, Burwash, East Hoadley, Chiddingly, Warbleton, Dallington, Brightling, Mayfield, Wadhurst, Ifield, Ripe, Furle, Irvington, Willingdon, Jevington and Folkington. A catalogue of the deeds and some microfilm copies are held at the East Sussex Record Office.

The Kent property was in the parishes of Westerham and Meopham, the Surrey property in Limpsfield, Mitcham and Camberwell, and the London property in Smithfield, Holborn, Shoreditch and Southwark.

Further details about our records of these estates can be found here.

Last updated: 29 August, 2018