Life on London’s first Aids ward

LASS

In 1993, Gideon Mendel spent a number of weeks photographing the Broderip and Charles Bell wards in London’s Middlesex Hospital.

The Broderip was the first AIDS ward in London and was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1987.  This was the era before antiretroviral medications had become available, a very distinct and tragic time. All of the patients on the wards, many of whom were young, gay men, were having to face the terrifying prospect of an early and painful death.

During his time at the hospital Gideon followed the stories of four patients in particular – John, Steven, Ian and Andre. These two wards at The Middlesex Hospital were some of the few dedicated AIDS wards that existed in London, and even more unusual for their decision to open themselves to being photographed.

Considering the high levels of stigma and fear that existed at the time, the decision…

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