Each result will give you a transcript of the vital facts and an image of the original hospital document. Each transcript can vary, but most will include the following:
County and country
The images may give you even more information about your ancestor and why he/she was a patient at St James Hospital. The information you will find in the original records depends on the age of the record and the type of document. The registration records’ standards changed and the amount of detail recorded differed through the years. Below are some of the details the original record may reveal.
Name and address of a relative
Whether a criminal
Poor law union
History of insanity in the family
In some cases, you will find a portrait of your ancestor
Details about improvements or changes
The Portsmouth Hospital Records have been digitised by Findmypast from the collection held by the Portsmouth History Centre. The collection includes a range of documents from the years St James Hospital operated as the city’s lunatic asylum including:
indexes to admissions and discharges
registers of discharge, transfers and deaths.
Patient notes recorded the individual’s progress from their condition when they first entered the hospital and how or if the person improved. You will find notes such as, ‘delusions of grandeur’, ‘excited’, ‘clean’, or one patient was recorded as claiming she was the ‘Queen of Brighton’.
The hospital opened on 30 September 1879 as the Portsmouth Lunatic Asylum. In 1914 it became the Borough of Portsmouth Mental Hospital. In 1948, the site came under the authority of the National Health Service and was renamed St James Hospital.