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METROPOLITAN ASYLUMS BOARD

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The building that housed the head office of the former Metropolitans Asylums Board (MAB) was built in 1900 and was designed by an architect unknown at the time of this record’s construction. The building consisted of four storeys and was made up of light and dark coloured brick in horizontal layers. The building also featured four domed parapets and a roof covered with tile. The building has since been demolished and is no longer existent.

The Metropolitan Asylums Board (MAB) played a large part in developing the care of London’s sick poor. Prior to these developments the poor who were suffering from illness had to inhabit often squalid workhouse infirmaries. The MAB set up around 40 general and specialist establishments which were often purpose built and staffed by trained personnel. The MAB can claim to have started the nation’s first state hospitals and laid the foundations for what became the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948.

The early work of the MAB involved establishing three hospitals for caring for people for smallpox and fever cases. Two large asylums (as they were then known) were also set up to provide care for people with severe learning disabilities. The organisation also took on the care for poor children and young offenders. In 1911 the MAB also took on the responsibility of providing care for Tuberculosis sufferers. Two colonies (as they were then known) for people with epilepsy were established by the MAB in 1915 (The Edmonton Epileptic Colony) and in 1916 (the Hackney Branch Home).

In 1928 proposals were announced to the reorganisation of local government in England and Wales. The organisation’s responsibilities then passed to the London County Council (LCC) which took over all of the hospitals that had been operated by the MAB’s Board of Guardians.

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