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Hospitals in the port

The first dockers' hospital
Poplar Hospital
The East London Hospital for Children
The 'Small Star in the East'
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The Poplar Hospital for Accidents in 1858
View full size imageThe Poplar Hospital for Accidents in 1858. © NMM

The port could be a dangerous place, and many workers sustained serious or even fatal injuries while moving goods.

Despite this, neither the wharfingers nor the dock companies provided any health care for their workers. 

Thanks to the initiative of Samuel Gurney, the Quaker banker and philanthropist, a casualty hospital was finally built in Poplar in the 1850s.

The East London Hospital for Children.
View full size imageThe East London Hospital in 1877. © NMM

A decade later, other philanthropists founded a hospital specifically for the children of the poor in Shadwell.

This was immortalized as the 'Small star in the East' by the great writer Charles Dickens.


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Before rail, road or air travel diseases moved most swiftly by sea
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The floating hospitals
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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