|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
A brief history of healthcare provision in London
THE METROPOLITAN ASYLUMS BOARD
SMALLPOX AND FEVER HOSPITALS
The first hospitals built by MAB were for smallpox and fever patients. Smallpox (and other infectious diseases) epidemics occurred regularly.
Designed as paired buildings (a smallpox hospital and a fever hospital) they were located at Hampstead (1870), Homerton and Stockwell (both built in 1871). In 1877 hospitals opened at Fulham and Deptford. The fever hospitals cared for patients with scarlet fever, diphtheria, enteric fever (typhoid), typhus, measles, whooping cough, cholera and dysentery. A sixth hospital was built in Tottenham in 1892. The Hospitals were named after the geographical regions of London they served - North-Western, Eastern, South-Western, Western, South-Eastern and North-Eastern Hospitals. Later, the Northern and Southern Hospitals were built for convalescing fever patients.
In 1881 the Royal Commission recommended that fever hospitals should be freed from the Poor Law, whilst smallpox patients should be transferred to a less urban site at Dartford, Kent. From 1883 smallpox patients were transported by the River Ambulance Service to hospital ships moored at Long Reach, near Dartford.
Early in the 20th century smallpox hospitals were built on land near the moorings and the ships were scrapped. These land hospitals were known collectively as the 'River Hospitals' and comprised Long Reach, Orchard and Joyce Green Hospitals.
Only paupers were admitted to MAB institutions until the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, made fever hospitals free to all.
By the end of the 19th century three more fever hospitals were opened - the Brook in Woolwich (1896), the Park in Hither Green (1897) and the Grove in Tooting (1899).
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