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29 October 2019


Another lesser known building in Bloomsbury: here is the Italian Hospital on Queen Square (now incorporated in to Great Ormond Street Hospital). Thousands of Italians arrived in Bloomsbury in the nineteenth century, settling in the area just east of Queen Square to make mosaics, clocks and watches. Their numbers were swelled by poorer immigrants in the second half of the century (ice-cream sellers and organ-grinders) and local businessman Giovanni Ortelli recognised that there was a need for a free hospital for those who couldn’t afford to go elsewhere. Built in 1898 it was funded by subscription in Italy and Britain and open to all. It stayed open as an independent hospital until 1990.

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