SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME
North East London saw extensive immigration in the latter years of the 19th Century, much of it originating in Italy or Ireland. The immigrants established communities, especially around Leyton and Leytonstone. This quiet part of the local cemetery has a group of children’s graves dating from the 1930’s. These are a sobering reminder that, even this late in the 20th century, death rates amongst children were much higher than today. The larger size of families reflected the higher death rates in young children. While there were some improvements in child mortality at this time (in comparison to the Victorian London so ably described by Charles Dickens), it wasn’t until after the Second World War, with the greatly improved modern housing, better hygiene, vaccination and infection control, that infant mortality really began to improve.