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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Institutions


Hospital Saturday Fund

Also known as Metropolitan Hospital Saturday Fund


It was founded in 1874 to raise money for London’s hospitals, dispensaries, and convalescent homes, following the precedent of the Hospital Sunday Fund

Grants made by the Hospital Saturday Fund in 1902:

Hospital for Sick Children

£270 9s

London Homœopathic Hospital

£135 8s

London Temperance Hospital

£213 8s

Metropolitan Provident Medical Association


National Hospital


Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

£84 10s

University College Hospital

£364 14s

(from The Times, 27 January 1902)

It continues today as a registered charity which provides grants to hospitals, medical institutions, and individuals in dire financial need

It also runs a range of healthcare plans which cover half or all the medical costs of an individual or family, including dental and optical costs which are usually excluded by other private healthcare insurance providers

What was reforming about it?

It controversially collected money in the streets and from working-class people, who were given the right to nominate deserving cases (Paul Johnson, ‘Risk, Redistribution and Social Welfare in Britain from the Poor Law to Beveridge,’ in Martin J. Daunton (ed), Charity, Self-Interest and Welfare in the English Past, 1996)

It also agitated for the involvement of working-class people in hospital management (Keir Waddington, ‘ “Grasping Gratitude”: Charity and Hospital Finance in Late-Victorian London,’ in Martin J. Daunton (ed), Charity, Self-Interest and Welfare in the English Past, 1996)

As such, it was not popular with doctors

Where in Bloomsbury

After a peripatetic existence for its first two decades, the Fund purchased the freehold of 54 Gray’s Inn Road in 1896 (The Times, 20 February 1902) and stayed there until at least the 1930s

It established these premises (newly built during the road widening of 1877–1884) as suitable headquarters for a progressive medical charity; from 1988 to 2006 this and the house next door formed the headquarters of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s foremost AIDS charity

Website of current institution

www.hsf.eu.com (opens in new window)

Books about it

None found


Its archives may be held on site by the Fund itself

This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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