Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital Collection

Repository: Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

Identity Statement

TitleSir Patrick Dun's Hospital Collection
Archive ReferenceIE RCPI/PDH
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1800-1990
Extent Medium52 boxes


Creator(s): Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital

  • Administrative History ↴

    Sir Patrick Dun (1642-1712) was a prominent physician in Ireland and one of the leading early fellows and presidents of the College of Physicians of Ireland. Under his Will Dun left provision for the endowment of a professor of physic in the College, although disputes over the Will meant that the professorship, and an additional two others, were not founded until 1740. Several attempts were made during the second half of the eighteenth century to establish a teaching hospital in Dublin, but the proposal was controversial. It was not until 1800 that one of the last bills passed by the Irish Parliament, the School of Physic Act, regulated for the establishment of a teaching hospital using some of the funds from Dun's will. The Commissioners appointed under the Act selected a site on Artichoke Road, now Grand Canal Street, and the first wing of the hospital was ready to receive patients in 1809, although the whole building was not completed until 1816. Dun's Hospital was a teaching hospital for the medical department at Trinity College Dublin, and the medical professors appointed under Dun's Will were required to lecture there. In addition Physicians-in-ordinary were appointed to care for the patients who were not used for teaching. The hospital was originally only for clinical cases and patients had to go elsewhere for surgery, despite several attempts to changes this situation following the establishment of the hospital it was not until 1864 that the hospital began to practice and teach surgery. Dun's Hospital was governed by a Board of Governors, with a registrar who dealt with the day to day administration of the hospital; there were also a number of committees including a medical board, linen guild and house and finance committee. Dun's, as with many hospitals, suffered from lack of funding and the hospital had to close briefly 1849 due to lack of funding. The establishment of the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstakes in 1930 eased the situation, but Dun's still suffered from a lack of space for the new specialities which the hospital needed to cover. In the 1960s Dun's united with other private hospitals in Dublin to form the Federated Dublin Voluntary Hospital, which allowed for the sharing of resources and services to aid the provision of services and ease financial pressure. With the restructuring of the hospital services in Dublin in the 1980s, Dun's was marked for closure and finally closed its doors in August 1986, with services being transferred to Saint James Hospital. The building was sold and the funds divided between Saint James' Hospital, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland to promote medical education.
  • Archival History ↴

    The Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital Papers were deposited with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland for safe keeping on the closure of the hospital in 1986, the current medical records were transferred with the hospital patients and services to other Dublin hospitals, mainly Saint James'.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital ↴

    The collection contains administrative, financial and patient records relating to the hospital from its foundation in 1800 to its closure in 1986. There is also a large collection of photographs, as well as a small collection of ephemera and objects relating to the hospitals history.

    One of the largest sections in the collection relate to the hospital’s administration, it contains the hospital’s annual reports, the board of governors’ minute and agenda books, the minutes of several of the hospital’s smaller committees, and legal documents relating to the establishment and management of the hospital. These provide an invaluable insight into the administration and management of the hospital, and its developments over time. This information is supported by the surviving correspondence files, dating from the 1890s-1930s and 1960s-1980s, which provide very detailed information on aspects of hospital management. There is a small collection of financial records, including accounts from the building of the hospital in the early 1800s. There is also a large group of architectural plans showing the alterations and improvements made to the hospital from the 1930s, as well as plans for large scale building projects that were never undertaken.

    The collection also contains a large amount of material relating to the hospital’s patients, these include patient registers, case books, operations registers and post mortem records. Most of these records date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Because of the sensitive personal information contained within some of these records special permission needs to be obtained to view records under 100 years old. For full details of access rules see the Heritage Centre Access Guidelines.

    The final portion of the collection contains ephemera, photographs and objects relating to the history of the hospital. These include a series of photographs of the resident staff and hospital rugby teams from the 1880 to 1950s, a set of medical stereoscopic slide and manuscript and printed documents relating to the hospital’s history.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    Part I – Administrative papers
    A. Annual reports
    B. Board of Governors
    C. Committee minute books
    D. Registrar’s book
    C. By-laws, acts and legal documents

    Part II – Financial papers
    A. Building accounts
    B. Hospital finance
    C. Bequests
    D. Salaries

    Part III – Correspondence
    A. Letter book
    B. Correspondence files 1890s-1930s
    C. Correspondence files 1960s-1980s
    D. CVs and Applications

    Part IV – Patient records
    A. Registers of patients
    B. Maternity records
    C. Accident registers
    D. Case books
    E. Operation Registers
    F. Patient signing out books
    G. Dr Woods Dispensary
    H. Record of attendances at extern department
    I. Register of penicillin given to male patients
    J. Post mortem records
    K. Mortuary register
    L. Medical certificate of the cause of death books

    Part V – History and ephemera
    A. Newpaper cuttings
    B. Hospital history
    C. Ephemera

    Part VI – Visual material
    A. Architectural plans
    B. Individual Portraits
    C. Resident Staffs
    D. Rugby football team photographs
    E. Other photographs
    F. Stereoscopic viewer and glass stereoscopic slides

    Part VII – Objects

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Access subject to the conditions laid out in the Heritage Centre Access Guidelines.
Conditions Governing ReproductionCopying of archive material is subject to the conditions laid out in the Heritage Centre Copying Guidelines
Creation Dates1800-1990
Extent Medium52 boxes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Characteristics Tech ReqMaterial is generally in good condition.
Finding Aids The collection list is available in the reading room or online Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialPortrait of Sir Patrick Dun by Sir Godfrey Kneller, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Heritage Collection
Publication NoteMoorhead, Thomas Gillman, A Short History of Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteHarriet Wheelock
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000. IGAD: Irish Guidelines for Archival Description. Dublin: Society of Archivists, Ireland, 2009.National Council on Archives: Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names. Chippenham: National Council on Archives, 1997.
Date of Descriptions40391