Deptford Medical Mission
188 High Street, Deptford, SE8 3PR
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1889 - ? 1917

Medical Mission
In 1889 James William Condell Fegan (1852-1925), a Nonconformist evangelist, who had started a Ragged School at Nos. 112 and 114 High Street, Deptford, opened Home Hall at No. 188 as a base for mission work in an area of sordid poverty.

The Deptford Medical Mission provided healthcare for poor families in the area, whilst its 'Invalid Kitchen' delivered food to the sick.

The Mission Hall was spacious and homely, and furnished with benches; one end of the room was railed off for a low platform on which stood an American organ.

The building also contained a small dispensary.  By 10.30 in the morning, when the dispensary opened, the Hall usually contained some 130 to 140 people, sometimes many more.  Most were mothers with sickly babies or young children.  A short service was held in the Hall while the patients waited for their medicines to be made up.

Sunday mission services were held for adults and for children, and open air services every Sunday evening, even in winter.  Other activities of the Medical Mission included Bible classes, a Working Men's Saturday Evening Club, a sick benefit club, a free lending library, medical visits to patients' homes (largely evangelistic), home visits by lady workers, distribution of clothing amongst the sick and poor, flower distribution amongst the sick, and other occasional efforts for the relief and comfort of the poor.

By 1893, four years after the Mission had opened, some 9,076 patients had been treated.  There had been 40,837 attendances at the dispensary and 11,037 medical visits to patients in their own homes.

By 1906 a convalescent home with 11 beds had been established at No. 9 Amherst Road in Bexhill.

The Medical Mission closed sometime during WW1 (1914-1918).

Present status (June 2008)

The Medical Mission building survives, but is now numbered 186a.  It has become a commercial property.

Fegan's philanthropic work continues, now as a charity known as Fegans, providing care in the community for disadvantaged children and their families.

The Deptford Medical Mission Convalescent Home in Bexhill was taken over by the Miller General Hospital on 21st September 1917.  It was renamed the Miller General Hospital Convalescent Home and the number of beds increased to 14.  Only women and children were admitted.  A Sister was appointed in charge as patients needed dressings changed.  On 24th February 1931 it was renamed again, becoming the Fountain Convalescent Home.  It closed during WW2 and then requisitioned by the Bexhill Corporation for housing.

Deptford Medical Mission
No. 188, now renumbered 186a, is at the corner of Albury Street and Deptford High Street.  The ground floor has been converted into a shop front.

References (Accessed 18th December 2019)

Heasman KJ 1964 The Medical Mission and the Care of the Sick Poor in Nineteenth Century England.  Historical Journal 7, 230-245.

Kohli M 2003 The Golden Bridge.  Young Immigrants to Canada, 1933-1939.  Toronto, Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc., 164-168.

Preston WC 1893 The Deptford Medical Mission.  In:  Macleod D (ed) Good Words.  London, Isbister & Co., 821-827.

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