Health and medical care of the Jewish poor in the East End of London, 1880-1914

Some 35,000 Jews lived in the East End of London in 1880, most of them in Aldgate, Whitechapel and Stepney. Within thirty years, largely as a result of a mass exodus from Eastern Europe, their numbers had grown to 120,000, a high percentage of whom were recent immigrants and many of whom were poor on arrival.1 This massive increase set daunting challenges for the Anglo Jewish leadership, not least in the matter of health care.

In the nineteenth century, primary responsibility for social welfare lay with voluntary agencies, particularly in health, education and housing. It was phil? anthropists who made themselves mainly responsible for new hospitals, schools, universities and university colleges; and it was they who financed medical and scientific research and who funded libraries, museums, art galler? ies, public parks and urban housing experiments. Facilities provided by the State were largely supplementary to their efforts. Parliament followed, but rarely

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Written by

Gerry Black

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