Before 1874, the Mildmay Mission operated from a warehouse in Cabbage Court in the Old Nichol (Little Bacon St), south of Bethnal Green Rd.
*The Old Nichol was situated between High Street, Shoreditch, and Bethnal Green. It consisted of 20 narrow streets containing 730 dilapidated terraced houses which were inhabited by some 6,000 people. The London County Council decided to clear the Old Nichol slums in the 1890s, and the first council housing development in Britain, called the Boundary Estate, was built in its place shortly before 1900.
St Judes, which was located in Mildmay Park, Islington, was a lively Victorian church of over 1,000 people. William developed a number of projects known collectively as Mildmay Institutions, providing spiritual guidance and care for the sick.
In 1866 there was a cholera outbreak in East London. Two of the Mildmay deaconesses, trained by Catherine, volunteered to go into some of the East End's worst slums in the Old Nichol*, where even the police feared to enter, to care for the sick and their dependents.
The work of the deaconesses developed and expanded and within a few years the first Mildmay Mission Hospital was established in a disused warehouse near to Shoreditch Church. It consisted of twenty-seven beds in three wards, one doctor, three nurses and five deaconesses in training.
By 1982, as a hospital with less than 200 beds, Mildmay was regarded as uneconomic and was closed, along with many other 'cottage hospitals'.
Mildmay’s Trustee Board, under the Chair, Helen Taylor Thompson, and with many loyal supporters, began the fight for Mildmay's survival.
After many setbacks, approval was given by Government and the NHS for Mildmay to reopen in 1988 as Europe’s first hospice caring for people with AIDS related illnesses.
Diana, Princess of Wales, made many visits, both officially and unofficially, and famously shook hands with a patient at the height of fear around the condition, helping to break down some of the stigma surrounding HIV.
As medication evolved and needs changed, Mildmay quickly changed its focus from end-of-life care to specialised assessment and rehabilitation.
Today Mildmay is at the forefront of specialist HIV service delivery and care, continuing to adapt and respond to meet new, often complex and rapidly changing needs.
Mildmay’s new, purpose-built hospital opened in September 2014, within the footprint of Mildmay’s sprawling, old building.
Our two inpatient wards are named Catherine and William after our founders.
In December 2015, Prince Harry officially opened the new hospital and cut our anniversary cake to mark the opening of our 150th anniversary celebrations in 2016.
Mildmay currently supports over 100,000 people living with HIV in East Africa. Our ground-breaking work in this region encompasses training and education as well as comprehensive health and HIV care.
Our work in Africa has expanded to address and treat other HIV-related conditions, including screening and treatment for: TB, STI’s and cervical cancer.
We work with some of the most vulnerable and hard to reach adults and children, enabling them to grow and realise their potential. We continue to mobilise communities, developing local partnerships and helping to build in-country capacity that is sustainable.
Some of our international work has been scaled back as funded projects come to an end.
In many respects this marks the successful conclusion of programmes, as Mildmay will hand over a legacy of work to government or to local organisations.
Registered Charity no: 292058
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