Health and Hygiene

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London, Eastern Dispensary, Leman Street

One of the first areas identified for reform was that of health and hygiene. From the mid-18th century medical dispensaries were established to bring free health care to the poorest areas of East London. The services ranged from provision of medicines to dentistry and midwifery. One of the first, the London Dispensary, developed into the London Hospital. Slightly later, The Eastern Dispensary, Leman Street was founded in 1782 by doctors in the City but the present building erected in 1858-9 from voluntary contributions. Designed by G.H Simmonds, a local surveyor and the dispensary's secretary and built by John Jacobs of Leman Street. Repaired and refurbished as a pub by Ronald S. Hore c, 1997-8. Its appearance is mannered ItalianateGlossary Term with channelled stuccoGlossary Term plinthGlossary Term, a roundGlossary Term arched entrance under a balcony and upper storey of five bays of windows beneath segmental and pointed pediments.

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London, Queen Adelaide Dispensary, Pollard Row

Queen Adelaide's Dispensary, Pollard Row was founded in 1849 by the Vicar of St James-the-Less in Bethnal Green. Its foundation followed hard on the heels of a serious cholera outbreak. The dispensary was rebuilt in its present guise in 1865-6 by Lee and Long, a firm who specialised in medical and hospital buildings. Its principal elevationGlossary Term is in a superbly lavish RenaissanceGlossary Term style abundantly decoratedGlossary Term with carved ornament of fruit and flowers. Elaborate central tower with carved clockface and cupolaGlossary Term on columns above. In the broken pedimentGlossary Term of the first floor central window is a bust of Queen Adelaide. Converted for flats after 1990 by Cazenove Architects Co-Operative who also restored the demolished cupolaGlossary Term.

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London, Old Castle Street, Whitechapel

The 1840s saw the establishment washhouses where local people could wash themselves and their laundry, for which few if any facilities were provided within the home. Most were constructed following the 1846 Baths and Washhouses Act but a "Committee for Promoting the Establishment of Baths and Wash-Houses for the Labouring Classes" had been founded in 1844 under Robert Cotton, Governor of the Bank of England. They founded their first washhouse in Whitechapel in that year and then planned a model establishment; the Goulston Square Washhouse in 1846. This pioneering improvement designed by Price Pritchard Baly was completed in 1851. The Builder called it "not simply plain and unpretentious, but downright ugly." Its construction was indeed utilitarian and designed to be fireproof,combining brown brick walls with an iron roof. Only the washhouse facade survives in Old Castle Street. ClassicalGlossary Term arrangement of seven bays of simple round-headedGlossary Term windows and completely unadorned except for 'Washhouse' and the date inscribed over the entrance. This unique, if fragmentary, survival has been retained for incorporation into Guildhall University's Fawcett Library, by Wright & Wright, 1999-2001.

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London, Bethnal Green Baths, Cheshire Street

A second Public Baths and Washhouses Act was passed in 1897 and Bethnal Green Baths and Washhouse (1898-1900 by R. Stephen Ayling) in Cheshire Street became the first public baths in this appallingly overcrowded district. The style is reassuringly domestic, in red brick and bands of portland stoneGlossary Term, with a curved gableGlossary Term end in a Flemish or Dutch manner. It has particularly fine relief carvings of cherubs over the separate male and female entrances, and at the east end is an orielGlossary Term window supported on carved busts of angels. Beneath this was the entrance to the Board Room and Superintendent's flat. At the west end of this block stands the utilitarian single-storey former laundry washhouse with an iron and glass lanternGlossary Term roof. It was commended at the time for providing space for prams, "in which the washers usually bring their linen. In most of the London baths this been omitted, with the result that the waiting halls are often impassable." The block in which the baths were housed was demolished in 1999-2000 when the entire group was converted for flats by Yeates Design & Architecture.


Broken pediment

A pediment with its apex omitted.


A term used for the architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, revived at the Renaissance and subsequently imitated around the Western world. It uses a range of conventional forms, the roots of which are the orders, or types of column each with its fixed proportions and ornaments (especially Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). Classical buildings tend also to be symmetrical, both externally and on plan. Classical architecture in England began c. 1530 with applied ornamental motifs, followed within a few decades by fully-fledged new buildings.


(lit. dome): Especially, a small dome on a circular or polygonal base crowning a larger dome, roof, or turret. Also (Scots) a small dome or skylight as an internal feature, especially over a stairwell.


A distinctive phase of English Gothic which developed at the end of the 13th century and continued into the later 14th; sometimes abbreviated to Dec. Named from its elaborate window tracery, which abandoned the simple circular forms of Geometric in favour of more varied patterns based on segments of circles. Dec tracery makes much use of ogee or reversed curves, which were combined in the 14th century to produce reticulated and flowing tracery composed of trefoils, quatrefoils and dagger shapes. Similar inventiveness is seen in the patterns produced by the lierne and tierceron vaults of the period, in the three-dimensional handling of wall surfaces broken up by canopy work and sculpture and in imaginative spatial planning making use of diagonal axes.


Any face of a building or side of a room. In a drawing, the same or any part of it, represented in two dimensions.


Peaked external wall at the end of a double-pitch roof. Types include: Dutch gable, with curved sides crowned by a pediment (also called a Flemish gable); kneelered gable, with sides rising from projecting stones (kneelers); pedimental gable, with classical mouldings along the top; shaped gable, with curved sides; tumbled gable, with courses or brick or stonework laid at right-angles to the slope. Also (Scots) a whole end wall, of whatever shape.


A style of classical secular architecture at its peak in the early to mid-19th century, derived from the palaces of Renaissance Italy, but often varied by asymmetrical elements.


Circular or polygonal windowed turret crowning a roof or a dome. Also the windowed stage of a crossing tower lighting a church interior.


A bay window which rests on corbels or brackets and starts above ground level.


Projecting courses at the foot of a wall or column, generally cut back (chamfered) or moulded at the top.

Portland stone

A hard, durable white limestone from the Isle of Portland in Dorset. Portland roach is rough-textured and has small cavities and fossil shells.


The revival of classical architecture that began in 15th-century Italy and spread through Western Europe and the Americas in the following two centuries, finding distinctive forms and interpretations in different states and regions. From c. 1830 the Italian version was revived in Britain as a style in its own right (sometimes called Neo-Renaissance or Italianate), i.e. as distinguished from the native Georgian classical tradition.


(Scots): A rounded bartizan or turret, usually roofless. An angle round is set at a corner.


A durable lime plaster, sometimes incorporating marble dust. It can be shaped into ornamental or architectural features, or used externally as a protective coating.