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Improvements in Public Health

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AsssImprovements in Public Health between 1840 and 1900 Between 1840 and 1900 living conditions in towns improved. How did the work of government, local councils and individuals bring this about? In this essay I will discuss the conditions in towns between 1840 and 1900 and the improvements in Public health since 1840. While doing this I will link reasons together to achieve my final conclusion. I will begin with an explanation of living conditions in towns and cities in the early 19th century. Living in the early 19th Century was very tough for most people. At least 80% were working class. Houses where small and over crowded allowing diseases to spread easily. The air was polluted, poor and environment unhealthy because the people did not know about the causes and consequences of pollution. For example, coal burning from houses and factories was polluting the environment, but it was the main source of fuel. The environment was not just damaged by coal burning and the resulting sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide, it was also unbearable because of the terrible smell and insanitary living conditions. The smell was caused by the lack of sewerage system, public toilets (as only rich people could afford a toilet in the house), dirty water; unhygienic disposal of waste and the fact that cleaning methods were inadequate - no reliable products. The filth was particularly bad in the Soho district of London. ...read more.


New laws, such as the 1875 Artisan's Dwelling Act, meant that better housing was being built. It was an act of the parliament designed by Richard Cross, Home Secretary. The Act made the owners give their slums to the council so they could demolish the areas of slum housing to be redeveloped by commercial builders with low interest. The Artisans Dwelling Act of 1885 was considered one of most significant acts of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli's presidency. The improvements to public heath brought real benefits. By this time cities had facilities to meet all kinds of interests, from dance halls to chapels. People joined together in a wide range of clubs and societies. There were nearly 700,000 allotments by 1881. Allotment holders held competitions for flowers and vegetables. Enthusiasts, usually men, took time to trouble over breeding birds such as pigeons or canaries. Choirs were very popular, usually as part of church or chapel life. Many played in brass bands, often sponsored by a factory-owner. By the end of the century, cycling had become a popular hobby with both sexes. Thousands began to spend their Saturday watching sport. Various kinds of football had been popular for centuries. They were crude rough games, with few rules. Now people lived in clean houses and apartments. In Birmingham Joseph Chamberlain made calls for slum clearance, improved housing, municipalisation of public utilities and higher taxes for the rich. ...read more.


William Beaumont (1822) studied the digestive system. Theodor Schwann (1858) realised that animal tissues were made of cells. Henry Gray (1858) wrote Grays anatomy and people started to have a broad knowledge of how their bodies worked. Louis Pasteur discussed that germs can cause disease rather that's the previous theory of spontaneous generation where diseases cause germs. This also led to the pasteurisation of milk. Robert Kock studied bacteria further and identified bacteria specific to the diseases septicaemia, TB and cholera and others discovered the bacteria that caused typhoid pneumonia and the plague. Patrick Manson 1879 discovered that diseases could be spread by vectors such as flies. Charles Chamberlain (1884) discovered viruses. Therefore understanding of disease was improving rapidly and there were some inventions that helped the treatment of disease also, e.g. multi lens microscope (Lister 1826) kymograph to measure pulse (1847 Ludwig) and x-rays (Roentgen 1895). At the beginning of the 19th century doctors would only provide comfort but by the end they could treat diseases and heal some patients with surgery. I believe the living conditions between 1840 and 1900 did improve. The government and local councils brought this about by clearing slums and areas of bad, dirty housing, supporting improvements in biology knowledge cleaning up sewers and improving local government, encouraging people to help themselves and no longer accepting poverty as something that can not be dealt with. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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