Mint Street, SE1

Mint Street dates from before 1679 in which year Thomas Lant married the daughter of Sir Edward Bromfield, and thus acquired an interest in a house called Suffolk Place. By then, Mint Street is shown on Morden and Lea’s map of 1682 and was closely developed.

The Mint Street area had been known as ’The Mint’. It was a slum area with privileges for debtors until The Mint in Southwark Act 1722 removed these rights. The area remained a slum until the 19th century.

The St Saviour’s Union Workhouse at Mint Street is thought to have provided Dickens with the model for the scene in Oliver Twist where the starving boy “asks for more”. The workhouse in Mint Street dated back to 1729. In October 1731 it was reported that “there are now in it 68 Men, Women, and Children, of which all that are able, spin Mop-Yarn, and Yarn for Stockings, which are knit by the Women; and beside this Work, 25 Children are taught to read, and say their Catechism.”

Mint Street Park, now at the western end, is owned by Southwark Council and stands on the site of the Evelina Children’s Hospital, which was here between 1869 and 1976. The hospital tackled the high rate of childhood diseases prevalent in the crowded streets.

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