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A Report On The Problems Affecting Public Health In 1830 1848

1572 words - 6 pages

A Report on the Problems Affecting Public Health in 1830-1848

There were major problems affecting public health in 1830-1848. There
were many factors which contributed to the terrible state of the
British population’s health. This report comments specifically on the
problems affecting public health in Britain in 1830-1848 and
contributes the reasons social reform was so necessary during this

The Industrial Revolution in the early part of the 19th century had
caused a significant increase in the country’s population,
particularly concentrated in towns and cities, which became
overcrowded due to their rapidly increasing industry providing vast
employment opportunities. As a result of this population boom the
towns and cities found there was not enough time or money available to
provide the migrated workers suitable housing facilities. This
resulted in extremely poor living conditions within the industrial
towns and cities. The aim of these industrial areas was to provide
accommodation for the new workers as quickly and as cheaply as was
possible. As there were very few building regulations this was
achieved by the construction of rows of cramped back-to-back houses.
The houses were constructed in rows, which joined up to other rows to
form a block of houses with a small courtyard in the middle. The
houses were built close to the factories, had no private toilet
facilities (there was usually only one privy to every block of houses)
and had no indoor water supply (the water pump was located in the
courtyard and catered for the occupants of the entire block). A
typical back-to-back house would provide a living space for
approximately eight people.

The back-to-back housing arrangement meant there was a very poor
standard of hygiene which, together with the problem of overcrowding,
encouraged the spread of disease. Sanitation was a major cause for
concern during this period. The communal toilet facilities were not
connected to a sewage system but drained into cesspits which were
emptied by hand by night soilmen. As a result of lack of proper
drainage theses cesspits would often overflow and run into the
streets. Some landlords would sometimes refuse for cesspits to be
emptied if they thought that it would cost too much money. Animal
manure also ended up in the streets and the stench of human and animal
excrement could be detected all throughout the area and within miles
of the town or city radius. Water supplies were scarce during this
time and many towns got their water from a nearby river. However, the
river was also usually the town’s major cesspit from which all the
sewers (from all the areas which were lucky enough to have a drainage
system) ran into. As a result the river water was always polluted and
people were effectively drinking, bathing and washing their...

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