Dr Joseph Rogers - 33 Dean Street, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.820 W 000° 07.950
30U E 698962 N 5710847
Quick Description: Like all workhouses the buildings were constantly extended and adapted over the mid-Victorian period which the medical reformer Joseph Rogers helped to expose.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/6/2011 8:03:35 AM
Waymark Code: WMC7ZA
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Touchstone
Views: 2

Long Description:
The blue plaque reads:
On the outer edge:
"English Heritage"
In the centre:
"Dr. Joseph / Rogers / 1821 ~ 1889 / Health Care / Reformer / lived here"


Joseph Rogers was appointed to the post of Medical Officer at the Cleveland Street Workhouse in 1856. His employment for the workhouse was to last thirty years.

Rogers was a humanitarian doctor: he dedicated his years at the workhouse to improving the health and welfare situation of the inmates, and championing improvements in the workhouse regime. For years, for example, Poor Law workhouse drugs budgets were deducted from doctors' wages, and Rogers went out of pocket to treat patients.

His efforts to improve matters were met with hostility by the Board of Guardians controlling the workhouse, but he found allies among philanthropists of the time. Louisa Twining (founder of the Workhouse Visiting Society) began visits to the building and she is mentioned by Rogers as “having devoted years of her busy life to the amelioration of the lot of the workhouse sick”.

Over time, Rogers managed to improve conditions at Cleveland Street, especially after interest was expressed in his work was by eminent society figures, including the Duke of Westminster, Queen Victoria, and WE Gladstone. His campaigns led to significant Poor Law reforms, including dedicated drugs budgets.

His own views were unusual for the time:

“It has often been asserted that the inmates of a workhouse are generally worthless people, but I demur that conclusion entirely. […] During the thirty years that I was engaged in waiting on the sick poor, I never lost sight of the fact that they were my fellow-creatures who were accidentally placed in a humbler social position than myself. Though, in accordance with the custom adapted in the institution, they were stigmatized as paupers, I never allowed myself to make them feel I thought them such.”

Rogers’s philanthropy is not the primary reason he is remembered. He was a formidable social and medical reformer, very famous in his time, whose determination to change the way the Poor Law system dealt with the sick and infirm was chiefly motivated by his time at the Cleveland Street Workhouse.

Text source: (visit link)
Blue Plaque managing agency: English Heritage

Individual Recognized: Dr Joseph Rogers

Physical Address:
33 Dean Street
London, United Kingdom

Web Address: [Web Link]

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