Fonds H 5 - The Vale Hospital, Swainsthorpe

Identity area

Reference code

H 5


The Vale Hospital, Swainsthorpe


  • 1896-1981 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

43 pieces

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Name of creator


Administrative history

The building later known as the Vale Hospital, Swainsthorpe was originally constructed in 1835 as the Workhouse of the Henstead Poor Law Union. For records of Henstead Union and Workhouse see C/GP 11.
In 1930 (under the Local Government Act of 1929) Poor Law Unions were abolished and their responsibilities and property were transferred to County Councils and County Borough Councils. Norfolk County Council established a system of thirteen Guardians' Committees.
Guardians' Committee Number Five took over the former Henstead Union Workhouse at Swainsthorpe (renamed the Vale Institution) and the former Forehoe Union Workhouse at Wicklewood (renamed the Wicklewood Institution). The Vale became a hospital for patients suffering from senile dementia and the ordinary Swainsthorpe inmates were transferred to Wicklewood. For records of Guardians' Committee Number Five (some of which relate to the two institutions) see C/GC 5.
Kelly's Norfolk Directory of 1937 records the following (under the Swainsthorpe entry):
'The Vale Institution, Swainsthorpe, erected in 1836, a spacious edifice of brick, standing in an enclosure of 4 acres of land. It is situated on the main road leading from the railway station to Mulbarton, and has been adapted for 170 cases of senile dementia....The Wicklewood Institution now acts as a general institution for the whole area, having taken over the Swainsthorpe ordinary inmates.'
The Vale was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948 and continued to function as a hospital for patients with senile dementia until its closure in 1984, when many of its patients were moved to St Andrew's Hospital, Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 28 September 1984 (numbered H 5/1), 9 October 1997 (ACC 1997/132 numbered H 5/2-20), 6 May 1998 (ACC 1998/27) and 16 October 2003 (ACC 2003/88 numbered H 5/21).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Patient files, master's monthly journal; admission and discharge registers; register of patients admitted; registers of death; a stationery requisition book of Ward Three; aerial photograph of the Hospital.

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Conditions governing access

The records of the Vale Hospital are defined as public records within the meaning of the Public Records Act, 1958.

The following restrictions regarding access to the records of the Vale Hospital were agreed between the Depositor (the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust) and the Norfolk Record Office in February 2015:

Admission registers and other summary records (civil registers, discharge and death registers, post mortem books, mortuary books, registers of military casualties, patient maintenance ledgers, allowance books, etc.): Access restricted for 100 years from date of last entry.

Records with extensive detail of treatments and conditions (case books, reception orders, patients' files, mechanical restraint and seclusion registers, medical registers, interview registers, ECT registers, etc.): 115 years from date of last entry.

Where access is required within the above periods a request should be made in writing to the Norfolk Record Office. This request should be accompanied with proof of death, ordinarily in the form of a copy death certificate. If the death occurred 50 or more years ago access will be granted by the NRO, if less than 50 years ago the enquiry will be passed on to the Compliance Manager at the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

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