History of 'tropical nursing' in East London: the Dreadnought experience

Int Hist Nurs J. Winter 1996;2(2):69-83.


In the latter years of the nineteenth century, the 'Dreadnought' Seamen's Hospital (previously the Infirmary of the Greenwich Hospital) became London's centre of excellence for the healthcare of 'seamen of all nations' (many had 'tropical' and/or sexually-transmitted diseases); this followed a 50-year period (1821-1870) during which three successive hospital ships (anchored on Greenwich Reach) had been used for this purpose' (1). Numerous mariners 'afloat and ashore' therefore owed their lives (and good health) to the skill of the physicians and surgeons based there, but equally (and perhaps more) important was the care and devotion of the nursing staff (2).

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Disease
  • History, 19th Century
  • Hospitals, Special / history*
  • Military Nursing / history*
  • Naval Medicine / history*
  • Tropical Medicine / history*
  • United Kingdom