When you came down with an infectious disease in the early 1900s in London, not only were you whisked away in a horse-drawn cart to the hospital, but the city seized your belongings and took them away to disinfect at the newly opened disinfecting station in Millfields Road, in the borough of Hackney.
The Hackney Borough Disinfection Station was one of a kind. When it was opened in 1901, Hackney’s medical officer of health proudly proclaimed: “With this station and shelter, I have no hesitation in stating that Hackney will be the most completely equipped district in London for dealing with infectious and contagious disease.”
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Steam-cleaning a batch of clothes from infected patients. Photo: Hackney Archives