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Historic collections show that the charitable support of medical care is not a modern development.
From correspondence and financial papers in family archives we see how organisations targeted areas of need and sought subscriptions of support, and how wealthy individuals responded.
Habits of philanthropy were encouraged in children from an early age. An illustration entitled 'A Good Use for Old Clothes' provides the frontispiece for 'Food for the Young, adapted to the Mental Capacities of Children of Tender Years' (1818).
The Providence (Row) Night Refuge and Home for Deserving Men, Women & Children was established in London in 1860. During the winter months, it accommodated and fed nearly 300 every night. Applications for support made a point of stressing that the charity made no distinction of nationality or creed. It not only addressed emergency needs of food and shelter but supported applicants in their return to work.
Lady Harriet Bentinck was a generous supporter of good causes. Among her papers survive many receipts from charities, including one from the Ladies' Samaritan Society and the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic. In 1862 she gave them £10 in support of their work.
Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.