QMH was founded in 1915 as a military convalescence hospital for servicemen who had lost limbs in the First World War and soon became renowned for rehabilitation of amputees.
In the 1920’s plastic surgery, burns and maxillofacial surgery were added and in WW 2 it became a specialist centre for the treatment of tropical diseases, especially for those soldiers returning from prisoner of war camps in the Far East. In the 1960s QMH became part of the NHS as a district general hospital while retaining its specialist services. In 1998 it became a Community Hospital.
The QMH Archive & Museum Group was founded in 1999 to identify, locate and record documents, artefacts and other archive material, provide for its security and make it available to the public. It has recently completed an oral history project and established a museum at the hospital
NHS hospital records (not personal medical records), if deemed worthy of retention, must be stored in the National Archive or at authorised depositaries. The principal location of the QMH archive is The London Metropolitan Archive with specialist collections housed at the Science Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons, Surrey University, Salford University and the Wellcome Trust. It is accessible to the public at these institutions. QMH archive office has a record of where everything is stored and keeps copies of the digitised oral histories and moving images, and collections of books and photographs.
Since 2003 the Group has been collecting personal memories and lectures from people connected with QMH and the Limb Fitting Centre.
In2008 the Heritage Lottery Fund financed an Oral History Project. This has produced 63 oral histories with transcripts from former staff and patients all of which have been lodged at the LMA where they are accessible to the public.
All these memories now form the QMH Personal History Collection which is in 3 series. (a) and (c) can be viewed on application to QMH Archive Office and series (b) is available at the LMA.
The Personal History Collection is not comprehensive and we hope to add to it as opportunities and resources arise.
In May 2010 a small museum was opened in the Bader Reception area on the Lower Ground Floor of QMH which can be visited by the public between 9am and 5pm Mondays to Fridays subject to the demands of the hospital. Group visits are possible by special arrangement.
The Museum exhibits historic artificial limbs, medical instruments, photographs, drawings and doctors’ notebooks. The centre piece is an audio visual console with an 11 minute rolling loop of cine film comprising extracts filmed at the hospital in WW1 and WW2, plus a touch screen access to sound bites from the oral histories. The current exhibition, “Repairing the Ravages of War 1915-60”, deals especially with the treatment of amputees, burns and plastic surgery cases and the health problems of the Far East Prisoners of War.
In 2012 the current exhibition will be replaced by one covering the period 1960-2000. There is also a mobile version of the museum for use at exhibitions and lectures in the community. In addition to the continuous process of archiving and responding to enquiries the Group engages with universities and other institutions in joint ventures connected with the history of QMH.
The Group is run by a committee of volunteers chaired by Gordon Jones. It has a part time Administrator – Linda Lamb - but relies on the contributions of its team of volunteers. The Group is funded by charitable donations but the hospital does provide shared accommodation and administration facilities.
Location, access and contacts
The archive office is situated in the Management Suite on the second floor in Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PN. The office is generally open from 9.30am to 5.30.pm on Mondays and Fridays. Linda is usually present on Mondays and volunteers on Fridays. However, it is wise to telephone in advance and appointments can be made with
We welcome visits, contributions of additional material and requests for information.