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Doctor Alfred Salter - SE16 plaque Doctor Alfred Salter - SE16

Credit for this entry to:
Alan Patient of

Plaque: Doctor Alfred Salter - SE16 plaque


{Alongside photographs of Dr Salter, and his wife and daughter:}
Dr Salters Daydream
Dr. Alfred Salter was born in 1873 in Greenwich and started at the Guys Hospital in 1889. He visited homes in Bermondsey and was deeply impressed by the poverty and appalling housing conditions.
He took up residence in the Bermondsey Settlement in 1896 established a dividing insurance society which gave allowance to members during ill health and started a men's adult school on Sunday mornings. He upset his professional colleagues by charging only sixpence fpr medical consultations. Shortly afterwards he met Ada Brown and they were married.
His daughter Joyce was born in June 1902 and Dr Salter was elected to Bermondsey Borough Council as a Liberal Whip and became a JP. By way of further proof of the sincerity of their commitment to the people of Bermondsey, Joyce was educated locally and not elsewhere. Later he resigned from the Liberals and joined the independent Labour Party and formed with fourteen others the Socialist Movement of Bermondsey. At this point the Salter's only child Joyce caught scarlet fever for the third time and died aged 8 in June 1910.
This personal tragedy which might have been averted had Joyce been educated elsewhere increased their commitment to the area and its people.
The Salters bought Fanby Grange in Kent and turned it into a convalescent home for Bermondsey patients. Dr Salter became MP for Bermondsey in 1922, the result being announced by London's first woman mayor Ada Salter. Mrs Salter aimed to have trees in every street and in two years 9000 trees were planted. The Daily Telegraph at the time described "an object lesson in what can be done to beautify even the poorest neighbourhood" Through Dr Salter's efforts play facilities were established at Long Lane at Tooley Street and at Tanner Street (on the site of the old Bermondsey Workhouse).
He prepared ambitious plans to replace 180 year old tenements with lower density developments such as Wilson Grove (formerly Salisbury Street) which can still be seen today. At Salisbury Street 1035 people lived in only 155 homes, but after the Labour victory in the election of 1924, rapid progress was made. It was set back by the incoming Conservative administration later in 1924, The new Minister of Health refused permission for the Salisbury Street plan for the second time saying that some of the land must be sold for commercial purposes.
Salter successfully campaigned for a solarium to treat tuberculosis sufferers of which there were hundreds in Bermondsey. Children were even sent to recuperate in Switzerland, as the fresh mountain air aided their recovery. The results speak for themselves. Between 1911 and 1935 the infant mortality rate fell from 160 to 69 and in 1935 when 1487 babies were born not one mother died in childbirth.
Diane Gorvin's sculpture shows the kindly Dr Salter waving to his daughter Joyce who is leaning against Thames wall with her cat nearby. It represents the daydream of an old man remembering happier times when his 'sunshine' was still alive.

Site: Doctor Alfred Salter - SE16 (2 memorials)

SE16, Bermondsey Wall East, Cherry Gardens

The multi-part sculpture is called 'Dr Salter's Daydream' and shows Doctor Alfred Salter in old age, waving to his daughter Joyce and her cat. The scene is poignant in that Joyce died at the age of eight. Sadly the statue of the doctor was stolen in 2011 (presumably to be sold for scrap) and folllowing this, the statues of Joyce and the cat were removed for safekeeping. A campaign was set up after the theft to raise funds for a new statue. At the same time, Diane Gorvin, the sculptor of the original statue, drew up plans for the replacement group, which would also include a statue of Salter's wife Ada

View from the Mirror has followed this story closely and happily reports that the entire group was reinstalled and unveiled on 30 November 2014 with the addition of a statue of Ada.

Go to map of other memorials in this area

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Doctor Alfred Salter - SE16 plaque

Information Subjects commemorated

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Bermondsey Settlement

The Settlement Movement began in England and the U.S.A in the 1880s and peake...

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Diane Gorvin

Sculptor. Trained at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art.

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Ada Salter

Socialist and pacifist. Born Ada Brown at Raunds, Northamptonshire. She joine...

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Doctor Alfred Salter

Doctor and politician. Born at 23 South Street, Greenwich. Following his Quak...

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Joyce Salter

Daughter of Doctor Alfred and Ada Salter. She contracted a virulent form of s...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Doctor Alfred Salter - SE16 plaque

Information Also at this site