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Once again I would like to thank Eric Pemberton for sending the following postcards of the London Hospital from early in the 20th Century.
The London Hospital was originally called the London Infirmary. In 1741 the need to expand was pressing and a plot of land was purchased in Whitechapel. By 1757 the new hospital was built and named the London Hospital.
During the 19th Century “The London” as it was known was increasingly important being at the centre of some of the most over populated areas of the East End.
It was also at this time as a response to the many epidemics in the area that many medical breakthroughs were made and many lives saved.
One of its most famous residents was in 1886, when Joseph Merrick, the so called “Elephant Man”, who was being displayed in a peep show in Whitechapel. His case was taken up by Sir Frederick Treves a surgeon at the hospital, who later found him a home in the Hospital and where he later died.
Until the creation of the National Health Service, the London Hospital was the largest voluntary hospital in the country which relied on local and national donations to continue its existence.
Performances by well known singers and celebrities were common as part of the fundraising campaign. The above postcard shows one such performance by Edna May who was a famous Music Hall singer at the time.
During the First and Second World War, the hospital treated many militiary personnel as well as local people. It was also at the hospital that First World War heroine Edith Cavell undertook her nurse training.
The hospital always had close ties with the Royal Family and in 1990 the Queen allowed the hospital to use the title of The Royal London Hospital which it is now known.
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