How Important Was the Role Played by Edwin Chadwick in Improving Public Health Services in Towns in the Nineteenth Century? (16 Marks)

764 Words Mar 30th, 2013 4 Pages
How important was the role played by Edwin Chadwick in improving public health services in towns in the nineteenth century? (16 marks)

Edwin Chadwick’s hard-work produced a mass of evidence supporting public health reforms. In 1842 his report that was published (“Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population”) influenced the government and persuaded people that reform was needed. His report’s recommendations were the basis for the 1848 Public Health Act.

However, Chadwick did have a few limitations along the way. His report in 1842 did not lead to immediate reform. The Public Health Act came 6 years later in 1848 and this act did not force councils to reform public health. His personality antagonised people and did
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The core of the project was completed by 1865 but because it was such a big project, it took another 10 years to complete. He made sure the system had a much higher capacity than was needed in the 1860s.

Other than this, there were other factors that helped improve public health such as the role of the government. In 1867, working men in towns were given the right to vote and this meant the number of voters doubled which increased again in 1884 and this mean politics changed drastically. In the 1870s/1880s many new laws were passed which were designed to improve the lives of ordinary people such as the Public Health Act in 1875.
Another factor which helped improve public health was chance. The timing of the 1848 Public Health Act was the result of the latest epidemic of cholera. As cholera spread across Europe in 1847 fear grew in Britain of many thousands of deaths to come. Therefore the government finally followed Chadwick’s recommendations and passed the Public Health Act in the hope that this would reduce the impact of cholera. However, the 1848 Act was not compulsory. Only 103 towns set up local Boards of Health. Many more did not, and the National Board of Health, set up to oversee reforms, was abolished after only six years in 1854.
The Great Stink in 1858 occurred in the summer which was really hot and this resulted in the smell from the river growing worse. This added to the evidence that more
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