Dr. Michael Maximilian August Heinrich Laseron 1819-1894
Dr. Laseron was born in Koenigsberg, Germany. His father was a rabbi. Tragically, he lost both his parents on the same day, when he was only seven years old. He was brought up by relations who did not treat him kindly. It is unclear how he came in contact with Christians, but at a young age he professed faith in Jesus and as a result his very life was threatened. At the young age of seventeen he had to flee his home, and he made his way to Frankfort. There too he met with persecution from the Jewish community and was obliged to flee. He traveled instead to Basel. On arrival he fell seriously ill but was nursed back to health by the wife of a missionary called Haslen.
Although friends had recommended him to the London Jews Society, and he did spend two years training as a missionary, he soon realised that his leanings were toward medicine. With the blessing of his friends he left the Society in 1849 to study medicine and at the same time, to practise homeopathy privately. On receiving his license, he traveled to England where he became a successful practitioner and homeopathist. He married and established a family.
Tragedy struck the young family in 1854, when they had just moved to the town of Edmonton. There, he lost his eldest child. He and his grieving wife began to notice the grief of others, and were struck by the sad condition of the poor, half-starved children in the streets of the town. They decided to establish a home and school for these children. With encouragement from others, they hired a house and a teacher, and opened the school in 1856. The school was soon so full that he could not admit any more children! Laseron then opened evening classes and held services on Sunday, which were attended by people who otherwise would not have worshipped anywhere. Other Christians began to support generously, as they learned of his ministry, and he was enabled to establish the Evangelical Protestant Deaconesses’ Training Institution at Tottenham.
Interestingly enough, this event is mentioned in Charles Dicken’s letters. In “Our Suburban Residence” (AYR, 21 Apr 66, xv, 349), the author, Meason, based his character, the German “apostle of homeopathy”, Dr. Zeller, on Dr. Michael Maximilian Laseron, MD. He strongly implied that Zeller (i.e. Laseron) was pocketing for himself the funds of his Home for Orphans. Laseron, through his solicitor, demanded a full apology and the name of the author; failing which, he would bring an action for libel. Charles Dickens himself wrote to persuade Meason – unsuccessfully – to give Laseron his name. In the end, after a long drawn-out correspondence (MSS Messrs Farrer & CO.), Laseron accepted Meason’s anonymous apology, addressed “To the Conductor of AYR” and prefaced by a paragraph by CD, “profoundly” regretting the publication of the article, headed “Our Suburban Residence. Private Character” (AYR, 19 May 66, xv, 450.)
from: The Letters of Charles Dickens, Volume Eleven 1865-1867; The British Academy; The Pilgrim Edition
The Evangelical Protestant Deaconesses’ Institution and training hospital was converted and opened, with a new hospital block, in 1868. The old house was replaced in 1881. The institution had 14 offshoots, including two hospitals in Ireland, at the time of Laseron’s death in 1894. In 1899 the voluntary deaconesses surrendered control to a committee and were replaced by paid, certificated nurses; to mark the change from a training centre to a general hospital for the district, the institution was renamed Tottenham hospital. In 1907 this was expanded and renamed Prince of wales General Hospital.
Laseron died at the age of 75, and asked a friend to write to his children who lived in Australia – “I thank God that I am surrounded by such as love me and Him.”
Bernstein, Aharon. Jewish Witnesses for Christ
A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 5, published in 1976.
Author: T F T Baker, R B Pugh (Editors), A P Baggs, Diane K Bolton, Eileen P Scarff, G C Tyack