For more than 150 years, the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital provided medical care to seafarers in London.

The hospital began life as a decrepit wooden warship, moored in the River Thames at Greenwich and converted into a 'floating hospital'.

HMS NHS: The Dreadnought, 104 Guns, At present Lying off Greenwich For The Seamen's Hospital
The 'Dreadnought', 104 Guns, At present Lying off Greenwich For The Seamen's Hospital (PAD6061, © National Maritime Museum)

From 1821-1870 it provided medical care to sailors from all across the world. After 1870 the hospital transferred to dry land, but it continued to treat seafarers in Greenwich until its closure in 1986.

From accidents at sea to tropical diseases, minor injuries to major trauma, the Seamen's Hospital faced every type of medical issue known in the Port of London.

That means that the hospital admissions data has much to tell us about who exactly the patients were, the dangers seafarers faced and the treatments they were offered.

These records are held at the National Maritime Museum's Caird Library. However, we want to open them up to make them available online for everyone.


Next steps

After two years and three months, our fantastic volunteers have transcribed over one hundred years of medical data from the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital. 

Now it's over to us. We will be working to clean, format and standardise this data so that it can be made fully available to the public. 

Updates will be posted here, so please do keep an eye on this page.

Project updates

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