- It has been ages since I last posted anything here.
I have been researching some history things about the disability
It appears that we, as yet, do not have a published comprehensive or
vaguely comprehensive history book. I'm currently seeking to change
this situation. and it will take some time to finish the project.
Well, on July 19th it was quite hot for a change, so I went out to
photograph a church in London. Unfortunately I found some dirt on my
camera lens, luckily I found a friendly traffic warden who agreed to
assist me in cleaning it.
The church I went to look at appears to be very inaccessible and
because of nearby buildings is very difficult to photograph, is
called St.Giles-in-the-Fields to distinguish it from the other main
St.Giles church in London at Cripplegate.
So why was I trying to take a picture of this old church, which in my
opinion is very ugly and eerie on the outside..... in there lies some
important disability history.
The church of St.Giles-in-the-Fields is all that remains of the
Hospital of St.Giles-in-the-Fields. The hospital was founded in
"A hospital is not necessarily a place for the reception of the
sick. Even now we have the examples of Christ's Hospital, Greenwich
Hospital, Chelsea Hospital, the Foundling Hospital ,the Huguenot
Hospital in Victoria Park, and others, to remind us that a hospital,
or as our forefathers called it , an hospital or spittle is a place
for entertainment, a place where hospitality is dispensed. The word
is sometimes used in old documents as the equivalent of an inn, as
the term hostler or hosteller testifies, and indeed the word hotel is
but an abbreviation of hospital.
This introduction is necessary in order to explain that in treating
of early and mediaeval hospitals it is impossible to restrict our
enquires exclusively to hospitals of the sick; for in early times
there were but few, indeed, we may almost say they were none, that
were founded or devoted exclusively to the care of the sick.
Specialisation is a late stage in the growth of anything, and all
early and mediaeval hospitals had a mixed function of which care of
the sick, when it was a function at all, was never the sole
function." (Charles A. Mercier lecture from the Glasgow Medical
Journal, Scotland. 1915).
The main occupants of the Hospital of St.Giles-in-the-Fields were
people with Hansen's disease. There were many hospitals at the time
for people with that condition, however, the hospital had one perhaps
unique facility in it's grounds was a full set of working gallows.
For those who know London, the site of the gallows is now occupied
the office block called Centre Point which can be seen almost
anywhere in Oxford Street,
The hospital was closed and demolished in the 1540's.
Getting back to my camera's lens being cleaned.... a black TXI *
taxi turned up with four men in it (one of them being Noel Galligher
of OASIS fame)
one of them yelled out:-
"Ah....you are not giving him a traffic ticket, are you?".
* The TXI is London's newest accessible taxi which has been nicked
named by taxi drivers as "the Noddy" because it looks like it has
just come out of Enid Blyton's toy town stories. The taxi has very
good headroom for a wheelchair user.
The copyright and moral right of this text are solely owned by Keith
Armstrong. of whom permission is required to reproduce in any format.