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A story

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  • keith armstrong
    It has been ages since I last posted anything here. I have been researching some history things about the disability community. It appears that we, as yet, do
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 20, 2000
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      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.
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