Case books

The case books are a register of applicants who applied for admission to the hospital from the hospital’s founding in 1854 up to 1988, comprising of over 20,000 records. Each entry provides the personal details, social and medical background of the applicant and whether they were successful in their application.

The information provided by the registers are invaluable for academic and family historians in providing insights of the types of illness which were defined as ‘incurable’ and gives details of the financial, social and geographical of the applicants.

The volumes are extremely well made spring-back volumes in green vellum with debossed gold lettering for the volume title with a decorative blind tooled border. The inside cover contains a decorative marbled pattern within each volume. Each book is alphabetically indexed and followed by 250-500 pages relating to each ‘case’. The pages are laid out as a printed form with various headings and are filled in by manuscript ink.

The significance of the case books to the hospital’s history has meant they have been prioritised for conservation and future digitisation. With the award of the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant in 2019 for the preserving and cataloguing of the RHN Archives this was made possible, and the majority of the volumes have been conserved and digitised through the money generously awarded by the National Lottery.