Limits...
City chaos, contagion, Chadwick, and social justice.

Morley I - Yale J Biol Med (2007)

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Affiliation: Department of History, Chinese University of Hong Kong. ianmorley@arts.cuhk.edu.hk

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In 1842, a civil servant, Edwin Chadwick, published at his own expense The Report from the Poor Law Commissioners on an Inquiry into the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of Great Britain, which outlined in detail the wretched social and environmental conditions within the world's first industrial society... So with such a backdrop in mind, this article assesses the role of Edwin Chadwick and his 1842 sanitary report in the lead-in to the Public Health Act (1848), a legislative attempt to bestow social and health equity in Britain, and examines the wider social and medical context within which the world's first modern system of public health emerged... By 1841, immediately before Edwin Chadwick published his Report from the Poor Law Commissioners on an Inquiry into the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of Great Britain (hereafter known as the Chadwick Report), the quantity of urban dwellers was approaching 50 percent of the nation's population total, and a number of broad developments had been noted about the size, appearance, density, heterogeneity, and complexity of urban places... The view presented by modern medical practitioners and statisticians, despite their limited scientific knowledge, was unmistakable: Urban society was ailing and in need of improvement... The British city was a setting confirmed as unsafe to one's health... The disease, a frightening silent spectacle, was unlike anything known before it... It was a psychological sledgehammer to material progress and all the perceived benefits of modernity... In this manner, the management of poverty through the amended Poor Law combined social, moral, and economics judgments... Impoverishment and disease were viewed as the end result of immoral habits as much as in the presence of miasma... To appreciate further Edwin Chadwick's unfolding approach to the subject of public health and the creation of a paradigm from 1842 to deal with poor urban health, it is not necessary to dwell so much on the limited scientific understanding of the early 1800s, but it is necessary to try to grasp the profundity of doctrinal, cultural, and social turmoil that economic growth had instigated prior... Environmental determinism was a defense for legal intervention, suggested Chadwick... To sit back and do nothing for whatever reason was insupportable... Both were vehemently attacked... Critics compared its central bureaucracy with problems in autocratic France... In the case of early 1800s Britain, thankfully, a number of individuals of vision did step forward and provided rational perspectives and solutions to the "Condition of England Question." Central to the British process of dealing with the malformed nature of urban society in light of industrial change and rapid urbanization was Edwin Chadwick, who from the early 1830s initiated mechanisms and investigations to improve the health of the population.

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Louis-Léopold Boilley's Consultation de Médicine 1760 (left) and Consultation de Médicine 1823 (right, published mid-1820s). In pre-revolution France, the doctors are shown to be old and dazed. In the later era, the doctors are shown in a prime of life and using a scientific approach to the study of health.
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Figure 4: Louis-Léopold Boilley's Consultation de Médicine 1760 (left) and Consultation de Médicine 1823 (right, published mid-1820s). In pre-revolution France, the doctors are shown to be old and dazed. In the later era, the doctors are shown in a prime of life and using a scientific approach to the study of health.

Mentions: Complementing the aforesaid social and medical state of affairs in Britain was the rise and influence of new journals, described later, and French medical research [18]. Although French medical practices (Figure 4) had an effect at institutions such as the London Fever Hospital before the 1820s, their impact extended by the 1830s into offering original treatment techniques, innovative ways to classify and distinguish one ailment from another, and bestowing new physiological, anatomical, and pharmacological information. Notably, such medical dissemination had important qualities. It imparted a promise of better health for all and offered a new consciousness of the body to the phlegmatic middle classes.


City chaos, contagion, Chadwick, and social justice.

Morley I - Yale J Biol Med (2007)

Louis-Léopold Boilley's Consultation de Médicine 1760 (left) and Consultation de Médicine 1823 (right, published mid-1820s). In pre-revolution France, the doctors are shown to be old and dazed. In the later era, the doctors are shown in a prime of life and using a scientific approach to the study of health.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2140185&req=5

Figure 4: Louis-Léopold Boilley's Consultation de Médicine 1760 (left) and Consultation de Médicine 1823 (right, published mid-1820s). In pre-revolution France, the doctors are shown to be old and dazed. In the later era, the doctors are shown in a prime of life and using a scientific approach to the study of health.
Mentions: Complementing the aforesaid social and medical state of affairs in Britain was the rise and influence of new journals, described later, and French medical research [18]. Although French medical practices (Figure 4) had an effect at institutions such as the London Fever Hospital before the 1820s, their impact extended by the 1830s into offering original treatment techniques, innovative ways to classify and distinguish one ailment from another, and bestowing new physiological, anatomical, and pharmacological information. Notably, such medical dissemination had important qualities. It imparted a promise of better health for all and offered a new consciousness of the body to the phlegmatic middle classes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of History, Chinese University of Hong Kong. ianmorley@arts.cuhk.edu.hk

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

In 1842, a civil servant, Edwin Chadwick, published at his own expense The Report from the Poor Law Commissioners on an Inquiry into the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of Great Britain, which outlined in detail the wretched social and environmental conditions within the world's first industrial society... So with such a backdrop in mind, this article assesses the role of Edwin Chadwick and his 1842 sanitary report in the lead-in to the Public Health Act (1848), a legislative attempt to bestow social and health equity in Britain, and examines the wider social and medical context within which the world's first modern system of public health emerged... By 1841, immediately before Edwin Chadwick published his Report from the Poor Law Commissioners on an Inquiry into the Sanitary Conditions of the Laboring Population of Great Britain (hereafter known as the Chadwick Report), the quantity of urban dwellers was approaching 50 percent of the nation's population total, and a number of broad developments had been noted about the size, appearance, density, heterogeneity, and complexity of urban places... The view presented by modern medical practitioners and statisticians, despite their limited scientific knowledge, was unmistakable: Urban society was ailing and in need of improvement... The British city was a setting confirmed as unsafe to one's health... The disease, a frightening silent spectacle, was unlike anything known before it... It was a psychological sledgehammer to material progress and all the perceived benefits of modernity... In this manner, the management of poverty through the amended Poor Law combined social, moral, and economics judgments... Impoverishment and disease were viewed as the end result of immoral habits as much as in the presence of miasma... To appreciate further Edwin Chadwick's unfolding approach to the subject of public health and the creation of a paradigm from 1842 to deal with poor urban health, it is not necessary to dwell so much on the limited scientific understanding of the early 1800s, but it is necessary to try to grasp the profundity of doctrinal, cultural, and social turmoil that economic growth had instigated prior... Environmental determinism was a defense for legal intervention, suggested Chadwick... To sit back and do nothing for whatever reason was insupportable... Both were vehemently attacked... Critics compared its central bureaucracy with problems in autocratic France... In the case of early 1800s Britain, thankfully, a number of individuals of vision did step forward and provided rational perspectives and solutions to the "Condition of England Question." Central to the British process of dealing with the malformed nature of urban society in light of industrial change and rapid urbanization was Edwin Chadwick, who from the early 1830s initiated mechanisms and investigations to improve the health of the population.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus