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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


St Pancras Medical Mission

Also known as Medical Missionary Association (its parent body)


It was a dispensary founded in 1888 (Burdett’s Hospitals and Charities, 1900) and run by the Medical Missionary Association (The Times, 26 May 1906), an organisation founded in 1878 by James L. Maxwell and others which established a network of medical missions in poor areas of London and across the world

The Medical Mission was featured in the cult classic novel The Lost Viol by M. P. Shiel (1905)

In 1908 The Times reported that the Association’s Mission in Compton Place had been discontinued,“the population having been so largely altered by the substitution of new flats for the old tenement houses” (The Times, 14 April 1908)

It may be connected with, or may have taken over from, the Presbyterian Mission Hall in Compton Place which appeared in the religious census taken by the British Weekly on Sunday 27 November 1887, which had James Filkins as its Missionary and John Coutts as its Superintendent (The Religious Census of London, Reprinted from The British Weekly, 1888)

Filkins was still at the Presbyterian Mission on 7 June 1898, when he was interviewed as part of the Booth religious surveys; at that point, he was said to be a London City Missionary working in conjunction with Regent Square Presbyterian Church (Booth B237, pp. 180–193)

The 1891 and 1901 censuses show only one institution in Compton Place, the “Compton Place Mission Hall Caretaker’s House” (listed simply as “Mission Hall” in 1901) with, in both years, John Chitty as caretaker, living there with his wife Emily and their 4 children

The Medical Mission in Compton Place closed in 1908

The Medical Missionary Association (as MMA Healthserve) merged with the Christian Medical Fellowship in 2004; the combined institution continues to perform medical missionary work

What was reforming about it?

It provided a combination of medical and spiritual aid

Where in Bloomsbury

It was in Compton Place from at least 1900 (Burdett’s Hospitals and Charities, 1900) until 1908

The Medical Missionary Association renewed its connection with Bloomsbury in the twentieth century, when it opened a hostel for medical students at 31–32 Bedford Place in 1952, which closed in the 1970s (‘Harcourt House — A Brief History,’ HealthServe, March 2003)

Website of current institution

The successor institution is the Christian Medical Fellowship, at www.cmf.org.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

Annie R. Butler, A Silver Birthday: The Story of the Medical Missionary Association (1903)

Phyllis Thompson, Sent to Heal: The Story of the First Hundred Years of the Medical Missionary Association of London, Founded March 2nd, 1878 (1978)


None found

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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