Frequently asked questions

Addenbrooke's Archives

What are your opening hours?

The archivist works part time so please contact to make an appointment before your visit.


Tel: 01223 586 737



Where is the Hospital Archive located?

The Hospital Archive is based on Level 1 of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge.



Can anyone come in to the Archive or do I have to be a doctor or an academic?

The Hospital Archives may be visited by anyone with an interest in the records. As mentioned elsewhere in the FAQs, we cannot guarantee access to all material as it may be covered by Data Protection or confidentiality regulations.



I've heard that I'm allowed access to my medical records. Do I do this through you?

Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 everyone is allowed access to information relating to themselves. Therefore you can now get access to your own medical records, regardless of when they were created. The Hospital Archive only has patient case notes up to the start of the National Health Service in 1947.


To access health records covering the period 1947 to the present please see the Access to health records information on this website:

> Access to health records



I'm doing my family history and I thought you might be able to provide me with birth records. Can you help?

The best source of information concerning family histories is found on the Directgov website: Family history and research


Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales began on 1 July 1837. We do hold some maternity records but there is only limited information provided and, for documents relating to children born less than 100 years ago, special permission is needed before access to the records can be given.



I'm trying to find the name of my birth father. I know where I was born so will I find this information in the records of the maternity hospital?

The name of the father of an illegitimate child is not usually recorded in the maternity records so they are unlikely to be of any help to you.



I'm doing my family history and I've discovered my ancestor was a patient/member of staff at a local hospital. What sort of information will you be able to provide?

If your ancestor was a patient; we may have clinical notes which can show details of the family history and past health and medical issues. If your ancestor was a member of staff we may have material relating to his/her salary rather than personal information. It should be noted that for Data Protection and confidentiality reasons special permission may be required to see records up to 100 years old.



How does the Freedom of Information Act affect access to the Archive?

This new piece of legislation came into force on 1st January 2005. It gives members of the public greater rights of access to information held by public authorities, and this includes the records of the NHS. There are some exemptions to these rights, especially regarding access to patient records.

> Freedom of Information



I'm doing a school/university history project. Is this the place I should come to for information?

The majority of the collection is a primary source for use with historical medical and clinical research. However we do hold many photographs of the hospital at both sites which may be of use. There are some printed sources that may be beneficial to begin your research inlcuding:

  • Rook Arthur, Carlton Margaret and Cannon W Graham, 'The History of Addenbrooke's Hospital Cambridge'. (Cambridge University Press 1991)

  • Gilliespie Fulton, 'About Addenbrooke's'. (Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, July 2000)



What do I do if I would like copies of any of the material?

We can provide photocopies of limited amounts of material, dependant on its physical condition, confidentiality and copyright. We can also provide scanned digital copies, digital images, digital laser prints, transparencies and microfilm via the Hospital’s Medical Photography Department. Charges for this service are available on request.




I have some old papers and photographs relating to my ancestor's time as a doctor/nurse/patient in one of the local hospitals. Would they be of any interest to you?

We are always interested in adding to our collections so we would be happy to accept gifts of material relating to local doctors, nurses or patients. If you have any items you think we may be interested in, please contact:


Tel: 01223 586 737



May I borrow any of your material for an exhibition or talk?

We do not lend any archival material or artefacts to individuals, but copy images can be produced at cost. We do sometimes lend to institutions, however, providing strict conditions of security, environmental control and so forth are met. Please contact the Archivist for further information.





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