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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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Poplar Hospital

The hospital expands

The Poplar Hospital for Accidents was busy from the moment it opened. From that time, workers at the East and West India Docks (and from the 1860s, the Millwall Dock) did not have to travel far for medical attention.

A postcard of Poplar Hospital, c. 1904.
View full size imageThe expanded Poplar Hospital, c. 1904. © NMM
At first, the hospital catered only for the male workers at the port. It was later expanded to provide general facilities for the Poplar district. A new wing, including wards for women, was added in 1891-94.

The Poplar Hospital for Accidents, 1936.
View full size imageThe original Poplar Hospital for Accidents, 1936. © NMM
The original building remained in use as part of the expanded hospital complex until it was destroyed during a raid by German bombers on 10 May 1941.




The final years

Poplar Hospital, c. 1950.
View full size imagePoplar Hospital around 1950. © NMM

The photograph on the right shows the hospital after the war, around 1950. By then, the original hospital had been replaced by more functional buildings. The hospital was still very busy in this period.


Demolition of Poplar Hospital, 1982.
View full size imageThe demolition of Poplar Hospital, 1982. © NMM

However, the demise of the inner London docks meant the end of the hospital, which closed in 1974.

Despite the protests of locals, who wanted to keep the building for the community, it was demolished in 1982. Housing now occupies the site.


Find out more
GalleriesPoplar Hospital - the first hospital for dockers
StoriesPorts and disease
Before rail, road or air travel diseases moved most swiftly by sea
StoriesContaining smallpox in Victorian London
The floating hospitals
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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