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Duration 00:40:27

Cholera! Public health in mid-19th century Britain

The 1848-1849 cholera epidemic in England and Wales was described by a government report as if a ‘foreign army’ had ‘held possession of the country, and slain 53,293 men, women and children’.

In the mid-19th century the country faced an epidemic of filth; poorly drained, overcrowded towns created an environment ripe for diseases like typhus and cholera. In response, the government passed the Public Health Act of 1848, creating a General Board of Health to oversee sanitary measures throughout the country.

Using recently catalogued papers of the Board, this talk, presented by Christopher Day, Head of Modern Domestic Records at The National Archives, examines how the country faced up to this crisis of public health.


Transcript to follow.