Salt of the earth
Dr Albert Salter studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital before setting up his own medical practice in 1900 in Bermondsey.
Albert was a good man and decided to do something helpful for the community. Together with his wife, Ada, they set about improving the health and living conditions in their area as best they could. His services were free of charge because people in that area were very poor.
There used to be a life-sized bronze statue of Alfred Salter and his daughter Joyce in Cherry Gardens, Southwark by the river. Joyce died of scarlet fever when she was nine. She caught it because her parents lived and worked among the poorest people in London. Sadly, thieves stole the statue in November 2011.
Ada made history by becoming the first woman Councillor in Bermondsey, the first Labour woman Councillor in London and, in 1922, she became the first woman mayor of Bermondsey.
Ada set up a committee which arranged to cover the local area in trees, flowers and playgrounds, while her work as a councillor helped to protect the countryside around London.
Together Ada and Alfred cleared away thousands of old buildings and built model housing which both improved health and minimized housework.