London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1660 - 1960

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of Bridewell Hospital, 1660-1960, including administrative papers, reports, orders and recommendations.
Extent: 0.4 linear metres
Classification: CITY OF LONDON
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • Bridewell was originally built in 1515-1520 as a palace for Henry VIII on the banks of the River Fleet near to Blackfriars Monastery, however, it was not used as a royal residence after 1531. In 1553 Edward VI gave the palace to the Mayor and citizens of London to be converted into a house of correction and workhouse for the 'able poor', vagabonds who did not work but were not infirm. A school was also founded to provide trade and domestic skills to destitute children. In 1700 a doctor was appointed to tend the prisoners - the first prison doctor and the only one until 1775. The hospital was put under joint administration with Bethlem Hospital until 1948.

    The prison side of Bridewell was closed in 1855 and the remaining male and female prisoners were transferred to the City's new prison at Holloway. In 1867 the school moved to Witley in Surrey and was renamed King Edward's School. The buildings were demolished in 1863-64.
Copyright: City of London
Source of Acquisition:
  • Corporation of London Records Office
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: In sections according to catalogue
Related Material: The Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives and Museum Service hold the court of governors' minutes of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem. The main archive of the Royal Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem are held at LMA under reference CLC/275. The educational side of Bridewell evolved, in 1867, into King Edward's School Witley.,The prison side of Bridewell was closed in 1855 and the remaining male and female prisoners were transferred to the City's new prison at Holloway. Surviving records of prisoners at Holloway Prison (built by the Corporation of London in 1852, passed to the Prison Commission in 1877, became a women's prison in 1902) are held by The National Archives at Kew. See also CLA/003 for records of Holloway Prison.

For Corporation of London records relating to hospitals, almshouses and workhouses, see CLA/064: Almshouses and Hospitals, CLA/065: Bethlem Hospital, CLA/067: Christ's Hospital, CLA/068: Royal Hospitals, CLA/069: Saint Thomas' Hospital, CLA/070: Saint Bartholomew's Hospital, CLA/071: Emanuel Hospital, CLA/075: London Workhouse, COL/CC/EHC: Court of Common Council Emanuel Hospital Committee, COL/CC/LUC: Court of Common Council Lunatic Asylum Committee, COL/CC/RHC: Court of Common Council Royal Hospitals Committee, COL/CHD/IC: Chamberlain's Department: Institutions and Courts, COL/CT: Charities, and COL/PL, COL/PLD/PL, COL/SVD/PL and COL/TSD/AD for building plans. There are also various papers in the Corporation of London collection relating to public health. See the Hospital Records Database on The National Archives website for the locations of hospital records held in other repositories.