The London Overground lines have been renamed – and one line honours a piece of LGBTQ+ history

Diana, Princess of Wales, visiting the historic Mildmay Hospital during the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis ravaging London, England. (Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

TfL has renamed its London Overground lines, with a piece of LGBTQ+ history honoured in the new Mildmay Line. 

The line, which runs between Richmond, Clapham Junction and Stratford, is to be renamed after Mildmay Mission Hospital, a charitable hospital in Shoreditch that played a “pivotal role” in the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. 

The hospital, which was visited by Princess Diana several times during the HIV/AIDS crisis and by Prince Harry in 2015, continues to be a specialist HIV hospital, with TfL claiming it is a “valued and respected place for the LGBTQ+ community today.”

The move to honour Mildmay Hospital was welcomed by the hospital itself and by those working at HIV charities, with Richard Angell, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, writing on Twitter/X that it was a “lovely tribute to those with HIV, those lost to AIDS, and everyone who cares/d for them.”

Mildmay’s CEO, Geoff Coleman, told PinkNews the hospital is “deeply honoured” by TfL’s decision to recognise “the work of the dedicated doctors, nurses, and support staff”.

“More than just tracks and stations, the Mildmay Line symbolises a journey of acceptance, love, and belonging – a vibrant thread connecting our collective past, present, and future,” Coleman added.

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Mildmay Mission Hospital began its work in the 1860s in order to tackle a cholera outbreak in East London, officially opening as a hospital in 1892.

In 1988, the hospital was approved by the government as Europe’s first hospice caring for people with AIDS-related illnesses. Princess Diana visited the hospital both officially and unofficially 17 times, famously shaking hands with a patient “at the height of fear around the condition, helping to break down some of the stigma surrounding HIV”.

Mildmay remains at the forefront of specialist HIV service delivery and care to this day.

Other lines, all named after significant people or events tied to the lines’ locations, were renamed Windrush Line, Lioness Line, Liberty Line, Suffragette Line, and Weaver Line.

Mayor Sadiq Khan explained that changes to the London Overground were introduced to make it easier for passengers to navigate around the lines, as well as “celebrate” London’s cultural history. 

“The new names and colours have been chosen through engagement with passengers, historians and local communities, reflecting the heritage and diversity of our amazing city,” he said. 

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