loading map

Leaflet | Map tiles Stamen Design, data OpenStreetMap, under CC BY SA

Inside Out: An Audiotour

5 / 10 The Hackney Hospital Sign

‘Can you see the sign, above the mirrored windows? And your reflection? Yourself looking back, at yourself looking back?’

In the 16th century this was a poor house. In the 19th century it became a workhouse. In the 1930s it opened as a hospital.

‘Roots’, by Centerprise poet Siege Moos, read by Barry Davis, published in 1989:

'A home for the Old aged
A workhouse once
It’s Sunday afternoon
They pour tea
From a giant pot
Hand out some bread
With margarine
No cake, no flowers
Nor a vase for flowers
One nurse
For two dreary wards
No visitor for him
In the unshockable
Invalid's chair
For him who, drugged,
Mumbles when half awake
He never never
Left his native town
His native Street
His very own Victorian house
He knew each front door
Who had lived where
A chronicle of deeds
And misdeeds
Throughout the century
He knew the hidden wells
And chopped-down trees
The meadows where, once,
Horses munched
He walked these streets
For eighty years
Here he was born
And here he died
As lonely as a tramp
Arriving on the eve of death
In a strange town
Speaking a foreign tongue.'

Siege Moos and his wife Lotte were political refugees who settled in Hackney and joined a Writers' Workshop at Centerprise. Like many in the 1930s, they had fled here from Nazi Germany.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook
Hackney Hospital sign, 2016 © Patrick Henry
Siege & Lotte Moos, courtesy of Maggie Hewitt