About Mildmay’s origins in the 1860s


Mildmay's location on Charles Booth's 1898 poverty map
Mildmay's location - then and now - on Charles Booth's 1898 poverty map

By continuing to develop clinical services for patients who are homeless or rough-sleeping, Mildmay is building upon its heritage; specifically, services that date back to the 1860s, when Mildmay delivered care to some of the most vulnerable populations of London.


In 1866 there was a cholera outbreak in East London. Mildmay "deaconesses" volunteered to go into some of the East End's worst slums in the Old Nichol, one of the most notorious slums of the nineteenth century, where even the police feared to enter, to care for the sick and their dependents.


In the 1890s, after Mildmay had established the hospital in Shoreditch, Charles Booth, a pioneer of social research, conducted an extensive survey of living conditions in London, publishing maps, colour coded according to the wealth of an area. He coloured the Old Nichol in black, the bottom of the scale, the poorest and most crime-ridden. Mildmay has been in this location ever since.


Key to Charles Booth's poverty map

The Boundary Estate (the lighter area at the bottom of the map) was the first-ever built by a local authority anywhere in England. It had been constructed in 1900 on the cleared slums known previously known as The Old Nichol, or The Jago. As a matter of interest, rubble from the old slums was used to build the elevated bandstand that forms the centrepiece of Arnold Circus.


Find out more about our history.

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