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The Hampstead Dispensary was built by the Rev Thomas Ainger (who ministered at the parish church from 1841 to 1863), as a thank offering for Hampstead's escape from the cholera which raged in London during 1853 and 1854. I have an interesting large printed paper "Advice and Directions to the inhabitants on the subject of the cholera", issued by the Board of Guardians, dated October 1st 1853. After two long columns of practical advice in which it says "Drunkards always suffer most", it ends in this way "By night or day send for the doctor: and such is the zeal of the medical profession, that the humblest person will not send in vain. (my note: fat chance of that now!) Whether the disease of cholera comes into your household or you be spared, keep up your spirits, have no vain fears; relax no industry; shrink not from assisting your neighbours; and put your trust in Him in whose hands are the issues of life and death".

It is recorded that the only Hampstead victim of the cholera was a certain old lady who had lately come to live in the place. She was charmed with everything in Hampstead except the water, which she considered to be very inferior to the sparkling beverage she had been accustomed to have from the St Giles Pump, so she commissioned an omnibus conductor to bring her some in a jar from the pump every day. Alas! The sparkle she admired so much was caused by sewer gas and so she died.

Quoted from Hampstead in the Light & Shade, written by Mary Hill, published 1938

 

 

 

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