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A charitable hospital providing specialist services to the NHS

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The Mildmay line has been named in recognition of Mildmay Hospital and its pioneering care for people with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 90s, LGBTQI+ communities today, and the people of East London for over 160 years.

A Legacy of Care:
The Story of Mildmay Hospital and the Mildmay line

The Mildmay line celebrates Mildmay, a small but crucial charitable hospital serving the NHS in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, with a long history of helping Londoners in need.

Mildmay's story began in the 1860s, when the Reverend William Pennefather and his wife Catherine, based at St Jude and St Paul’s church in Mildmay Grove, Islington, set up a number of 'Mildmay Institutions' to train educated young women in Christian work and philanthropy – ‘Deaconesses’.

Cabbage Court, in the Old Nichol

In 1866, when cholera broke out in the East End’s poorest slums - the 'Old Nichol', an area strictly avoided by other Londoners, two Mildmay Deaconesses volunteered to go there and care for the sick. The epidemic eventually subsided, but the Deaconesses continued their daily efforts and the principle of training nurses and caring for those most in need was established for the first time.

In 1877, the first charitable Mildmay 'Mission' Hospital was established in a disused warehouse in the Old Nichol. In 1892, the first purpose-built Mildmay Mission Hospital was opened nearby on Austin Street. 

People of the East End wait at Mildmay Outpatients

The hospital continued to serve the local community for many years, and in 1948, it was incorporated into the newly formed National Health Service (NHS).

In 1982, Mildmay was closed down amid NHS cutbacks, but after a long battle, it reopened in 1985 once again as an independent charitable hospital.

Then, in 1988, at the request of the UK government, Mildmay became Europe’s first dedicated AIDS hospice.

Princess Diana and Martin

Diana, Princess of Wales visited Mildmay a remarkable 17 times between 1989 and her death in 1997. The press coverage of these visits played a significant role in combating the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS during a critical time.

Today, the hospital occupies a purpose-built new building on the original site, opened by Prince Harry in 2015.


Although our understanding of and treatment for HIV-related illnesses have evolved considerably, HIV is still a significant public health issue globally and in the UK.


Mildmay remains an internationally renowned specialist centre for the rehabilitation and care of patients with complex HIV-related conditions. It's also a valued and respected place for London's LGBTQI+ communities.

The Mayor of London and TFL chose Mildmay to symbolise and cherish the role of the NHS and its smaller healthcare centres in caring for all Londoners.

"More than just tracks and stations, the Mildmay Line symbolises a journey of acceptance, love, and belonging—a vibrant thread connecting our collective past, present, and future.”

Geoff Coleman

Mildmay's CEO

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Who is on the Mildmay Line Poster?

Nurses from across Mildmay's long history stand before the iconic TfL roundel, its blue lines mirroring the Mildmay line on Tube and Overground maps. A ribbon, the international symbol of AIDS awareness since 1990, ties it all together.

AIDS ribbon
TfL's Mildmay line poster
Emily Goodwin 1892

Emily Goodwin assumed the role of the first matron at the new Mildmay Mission Hospital in 1892. Her dedication and leadership were instrumental in shaping the hospital’s early years.

Nurse Maud Haynes, depicted on the poster in a photograph taken in 1921, was a loyal and committed carer who was still at Mildmay in 1965 when Princess Alexandra visited the hospital to open a new wing (she can be seen behind Princess Alexandra as she chats with a patient).

Nurse Maud With Princess Alexandra 1965
Comfort Sagoe and Sadiq Khan 2024

Until her well-deserved retirement in April 2024, Comfort Sagoe was our Clinical Lead Nurse, in charge of the entire nursing team. She joined Mildmay in 2005 as one of our international recruits and gave the hospital almost twenty years of dedicated service. Taking on the role of Lead Nurse in 2018, she proficiently guided our Nursing Team through some of the most formidable challenges that Mildmay has ever faced.

Nurse Comfort personifies the compassion and dedication of everyone in the Mildmay family.

Improving Navigation and Reflecting the Diversity of London

Graphical representation of the six Overground lines

​The six new London Overground line names, Liberty, Lioness, Mildmay, Suffragette, Windrush and Weaver, were chosen to make the network easier to navigate and to ensure London’s transport system reflects its rich and diverse history.

The naming of the London Overground lines is part of a strategy by the Mayor of London and TfL to celebrate London’s many historic locations and forgotten stories, using public spaces to highlight groups that have been historically less recognised.

"There are so many Londoners, historic locations and forgotten stories from our city that need re-telling. Naming the lines will not only help educate visitors about our amazing city and its incredible history, but will also make it easier for people who live, work or visit London to more easily navigate the city”

Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London

Tube Map - Autumn 2024
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We need your help.

Mildmay is part-funded by the NHS for providing services, but it is only with your generosity that our charity can continue to provide essential services and facilities for our society's most vulnerable people.
  • For nearly 40 years, Mildmay has been at the forefront of distinctive, specialist care related to complex HIV-related conditions for patients across the UK.

  • Since 2020, we have also provided clinical care and reablement, including post-detox rehabilitation, for people who are homeless from across London and beyond.


  • Mildmay also offers neurorehabilitation services and cares for people with issues relating to mental health.


  • Mildmay has worked internationally since the 1990s and continues to support HIV and human rights-linked healthcare initiatives in Africa.

Your contribution will help transform lives. 
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Listen to the official TfL podcast

TfL Mind the Gap podcast logo

In the second series of MIND THE GAP, host Tim Dunn is on a mission to travel across the capital as he explores the stories behind the renamed London Overground lines.

In the first episode, Tim visits Mildmay and meets former patient, campaigner and AIDS survivor Jason Reid, who tells his story of becoming seriously ill with AIDS in 2005 and the importance of Mildmay in supporting and helping him to survive during an incredibly difficult time.

Tim is also taken on a tour of the facilities by Mildmay CEO Geoff Coleman and speaks with social worker and safeguarding lead Beverley Nelson, who has been working at Mildmay for 14 years.

Mildmay's lead social worker Beverley and podcast host, Tim Dunn
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Copyright © 2024 Mildmay Hospital

Charity no. 292058

Company no. 01921087

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