1960s Waiting Room

Manor Gardens was founded in 1913 as ‘The North Islington Infant Welfare Centre and School for Mothers’ to provide an urgent need for free healthcare for children. Our founder was Florence Keen, a Highgate resident who was committed to public service and had a wide circle of influential and wealthy friends.

At that time over 1 in 10 children died before their first birthday in Islington.  Unlike almost all other similar organisations we retained our independence on the creation of the NHS in 1948, giving us a unique continuity of service. Ever since, as the needs of the community have changed, Manor Gardens has developed and today runs a whole series of projects to help those most at need in our community. 

Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund we have put together our fascinating archive of photos and artefacts, which you can learn more about on our Heritage site.

100 Years of Community Healthcare:
From Infant Welfare to Community Wellbeing

This exhibition formed a central part of the Manor Gardens Street centenary celebrations and can now be viewed my members of the public as part of the wider Islington Exhibits. It gives a playful and informative insight into our unique organisation, looking at how our attitudes to children, health and voluntary work have changed over the last century. It explores our pioneering approach to community healthcare including:

  • teaching mothers on baby wards
  • sunlight treatment
  • exercise classes
  • more recently,  the provision of community mental health and wellbeing services

 Volunteers at the centre curated the exhibition, which draws on Manor Gardens’ extensive archive, including over 500 photographs, and an oral history project of people involved with the centre.  For more information of key dates in the centre’s history, you can also have a look at our Facebook timeline at:


Learning skills and playing together in the playgarden, 1964.

Learning skills and playing together in the playgarden, 1964.

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