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Archive of Sir Henry Burdett


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The archive consists of: correspondence; papers; notebooks; newpaper cuttings and diaries relating to Henry Burdett and the Burdett family.


  • Creation: 1847-1920


18.04 Linear metres (164 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 5894, fols. 1-2].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. b. 2068-2069; c. 5894-6032; d. 2867-2889

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12618


Papers of Sir Henry Burdett (1847-1920), Secretary of the Share and Loan Department of the London Stock Exchange, with some Burdett family papers, 1803-1930

Biographical / Historical

Sir Henry Burdett (1847-1920) was the Secretary of the Share and Loan Department of the London Stock Exchange and founder of The Hospital. He was known for his powers of organisation and his untiring energy and devotion to any work with which he was connected. Son of the Reverend Halford Burdett, a Leicestershire clergyman, and his wife Alsina, he started his business career as a bank clerk in Birmingham, 1863, and was soon put in charge of the local clearing Bank of England where his business abilities became evident.

In 1868 he became Secretary and General Superintendent of the Queen's Hospital, Birmingham and in 1873 enrolled as a medical student at Queen's College also in Birmingham, transferring to Guy's Hospital, London. He completed his medical studies and passed all but the final examination of the Royal College of Surgeons, as he had decided that he did not wish to practice as a physician to the detriment of his public work. From 1874 to 1880 he was Secretary to the Dreadnought Seaman's Hospital, setting it on a sound financial basis before he went on to the post of Secretary of the Share and Loan Department of the Stock Exchange. In this capacity he started and compiled the annual publication known as Burdett's Official Intelligence, a compendium of information on British, American and foreign securities.

Sir Henry was very much involved, as the main part of his general correspondence shows, in the activities and organisation of hospitals and in securing improvements in the working conditions of nurses. He established the Home Hospitals Association for Paying Patients in 1877, and was founder of the Royal National Pension Fund for Nurses, 1887, raising the money with which to endow it. He was also associated with the movement for the State Registration of Nurses. Active in all the principal organisations for collecting and distributing funds for hospitals, he was asked, in 1897, to set up a fund to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee, The Prince of Wales's Hospital Fund for London. He received a knighthood in the same year.

He owned the Scientific Press and was founder and editor of The Hospital, a journal devoted to all aspects of hospital life. He was a prolific writer. One of his major works was Hospitals and Asylums of the World (London, 1892). His year book of philanthropy Burdett's Hospitals and Charities was as important in its field as his Stock Exchange publication. He also published innumerable volumes on commercial questions, the national debt, sinking funds, and taxation.

Sir Henry retired from the Stock Exchange in 1898 and for the next twenty years he was active in a variety of business concerns. He died in 1920.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited in the Bodleian Library in March 1976 by Mr. John Gwyer, Miss E. M. Gwyer and Mrs. Elizabeth Burt-Andrews; and made into a gift in January 1995 by Miss E. M. Gwyer.

Catalogue of the archive of Sir Henry Burdett
Elizabeth Turner
Language of description
Script of description
Conversion to EAD supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom