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Medical problems in the 19th Century

Learning Objectives: ALL to identify the main health problems in the period c17501900 MOST as above and to explain why public health did not improve before 1850. SOME as above and to link these to urbanisation and industrialisation.
Copy definitions: Urbanisation the movement of people from the country to cities Industrialisation - the development of industry on an extensive scale

Read through the following sources. 1) Identify what you think the main health problems in towns were at the time. Write the biggest health problem on your post it note 2) What do you think the main causes of these problems were?

So what health problems did towns face...?

So what health problems did towns face...?

So what health problems did towns face...?


The four most dangerous 19th century diseases.
Can you identify them by their description?

So what caused these health problems...?


The houses in poor areas such as Whitechapel were always near the railways which were polluting the air!

The Terraced Housing used coal to heat the houses and this meant soot would leave the chimney with the smoke. This would rise up in to the atmosphere and then land back down.

Government and public health 1830-1850


Having looked at health problems in the towns and their possible causes. Watch the video and answer the question: What should the government do?
The story of the local and national acts passed following the cholera epidemic. the clip covers acts including banning back-tobacks in Manchester and the 1848 Public Health Act. It goes on to consider the weaknesses of each law and why the richer classes were reluctant to enforce the legislation.

Father Thames introducing his offspring to the fair city of London; diphtheria, scrofula and cholera.

What should the government do? How would these men from the 19th century answer?
I cannot afford to see a doctor if I am ill. We do not have running water. We share one toilet between several families. It is no wonder we are ill. The government need to help us! The labourer It is not my fault that the poor get ill. We know that dirt is linked to disease. They should take a bath! I am not paying higher taxes to solve their problem!

The Land Lord

What did the government do?


In 1848 the first Public Health Act caused the setting up of a Board of Health, and gave towns the right to appoint a Medical Officer of Health. In 1853 vaccination against smallpox was made compulsory. In 1854 improvements in hospital hygiene were introduced (thanks in large part to Florence Nightingale). In 1875 a Public Health Act enforced laws about slum clearance, provision of sewers and clean water, and the removal of nuisances.

The benefits of these measures soon became clear, and by the late 19th century local councils were competing with each other to provide the best public health.

Set the scene. Use your What was significant about the 1875 sources. Public Health Act? Why didnt Describe poor health due to air L8 Analyse and reach a judgement on Public Health improve before pollution and sanitation... the significance of events, people 1850? and features of the past Before 1850 public health was L7 Use criteria to argue the reason a not seen as the governments feature, event or person in the past is responsibility. For example

The 1848 Public Health Act was a step forward. It showed the government were becoming aware that public health was their responsibility. Improvements were slow though because
Improvements didnt speed up until the 1875 Public Health Act because...

significant L6 Explain what you need to look for to tell if something is significant L5 Explain the reasons for the significance of an event, person or feature of the past L4 Describe some of the reasons for an event person or feature of the past being significant
Answer the question using the writing frame and level ladder. Take time to make sure you are looking at the

L8 L7 L6 L5 L4

Analyse and reach a judgement on the significance of events, people and features of the past Use criteria to argue the reason a feature, event or person in the past is significant Explain what you need to look for to tell if something is significant Explain the reasons for the significance of an event, person or feature of the past Describe some of the reasons for an event person or feature of the past being significant

Can you give your self a level for your work today?

Did you meet your learning objectives?


Learning outcomes: ALL to identify the main health problems in the period c17501900 MOST as above and to explain why public health did not improve before 1850. SOME as above and to link these to urbanisation and industrialisation.