The first hospital for children in London was established with ten beds in 1866 during a terrible cholera epidemic. It relied entirely on charity, was enlarged in 1875 and subsequently expanded, merged, and incorporated into larger facilities until it was closed after the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948. At the time it provided an oasis of care for sick children who lived in a greatly underserved area under conditions of great squalor and poverty, as graphically described among others by Charles Dickens.
Swain VAJ and Woodall L: East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell,1868-1963, Queen Elisabeth Hospital for Children, Shadwell. British Medical Journal 1968:2:696.
|Children at play in the East London Hospital for Children. Wood engraving by J. Swain after G.W. Ridley, 1872. Wellcome Collection. CC BY.|