PortCities London

Hospitals in the port


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.


   Back to The 'Small Star in the East'