Access to the Archives

Enquiries about archives

If you have a specific interest in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, or its constituent hospitals, please contact the Archivist for a general discussion about the contents of the archives. The Archivist can carry out short enquiries on your behalf, but for more lengthy research or if you would like to view documents in person, access to the records can be arranged by appointment.

 Who can access the records?

Addenbrooke’s Hospital Records are Public Records and as such, access to them, unless they are ‘closed’ for any reason, is open to anyone by appointment, on proof of identification. Before your first visit, interested parties will be asked to complete, sign and return an Access Request archive_form

Why is this material kept?

This is the written record of Cambridge University Hospitals  NHS Trust, and of the organisations which preceded it. It is kept for the purposes of use and reference by the Trust itself, which like all other NHS Trusts and Health Authorities has a duty to manage its records. NHS records are defined as “public records” under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958.

While many of the records created in the course of business can eventually be disposed
of, some records are worthy of permanent preservation as the “memory” of the NHS.
Because they are public records they have to be kept in a local place of deposit appointed
by the National Archives – Addenbrooke’s Hospital is a local place of deposit. Such places have to maintain a high standard of storage and access, matching that of the National Archives itself.

Conditions of access

Members of the public to whom records are made available in person at Addenbrooke’s will be expected to observe the following conditions while consulting those records: 

  • Access to records at Addenbrooke’s will be provided only under the supervision of the Archivist.
  • No food or drink is to be consumed near the archives.
  • Records must not be marked, altered or damaged in any way, and their physical arrangement, including the internal arrangement of any files, must not be altered in any way.
  • Digital photography is allowed with prior permission of the Archivist.

Access restrictions

The Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts apply to archived hospital records. However, patient and staff records have closure periods and may not be available until they are 100 years old. These records are defined in the Public Records Act 1958.

Information from such records may be released to the person concerned, or to the next of kin, but the individual requesting the information may be required to produce proof of identity, and the release of any information from closed health records remains at the discretion of the Archivist.

Records that are fragile might not be made available for consultation by readers, if it is felt that handling them would cause irreparable damage.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives Catalogue

The catalogue for Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives is available electronically via the Janus (which provides access to descriptions of a growing proportion of the archive and manuscript collections held throughout Cambridge) web-site at  the Online catalogue

Contact Details:

The Archivist works part-time Tuesday – Thursday, so please make contact  before a visit.

Archivist: Box 268, Addenbrooke’s Hospital,  Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ;

Tel: 01223 586 737