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Student Showcase Archive
Show RCA 2019

Iria Suárez Martínez

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A Better Childhood for All Children: Designing the Modern Space for Sick Children in East London, 1850-1900

This dissertation investigates the socio-cultural, economic, political and technological circumstances that stimulated the burgeoning of children’s hospitals in the East End of London, between 1850 and 1900. The willingness by social reformers, as well as professionals of different disciplines including medicine and architecture, led to the creation of a space that fulfilled the function of decreasing infant mortality. Pursuing the core research question of what was the relationship between the founders, the designers and the users of children’s hospitals, this research analyses the foundation of two children’s hospitals that emerged in the most deprived area of London during the second half of the nineteenth century, the North-Eastern Hospital for Children and the East London Hospital for Children. 


  • School

    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA History of Design

  • Contact

  • Design historian with an interest in the material culture of children and childhood. Iria’s research focused on the history of children’s hospitals in London, analysing the set of social relationships and ambitions that determined the design of a novel space created for children’s wellbeing during the second half of the nineteenth century. 

  • Previous degrees

  • BA (Hons) Fashion Design, ESDEMGA, University of Vigo, Spain, 2012
  • Exhibitions

  • Interactive Object Histories, Hockney Gallery, RCA Kensington, London, 2018
Royal College of Art