Sanitary investment and the decline of urban mortality in England and Wales, 1817-1914

Bernard Harris, Andrew Hinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous authors have drawn attention to the role played by loan-financed public works in reducing mortality in England and Wales during the latter part of the nineteenth century. These arguments have often been based on an analysis of the loans sanctioned by the Government's central health departments following the creation of the first General Board of Health in 1848, but little attempt has been made to disaggregate the loans either by function or geographical area. Moreover, as the Local Government Board itself acknowledged, it is also important to take account of the large number of loans which were approved by other means. This paper offers the first large-scale chronological account of the full range of loans which were either approved by Local Act of Parliament or sanctioned by a central department throughout the whole of the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the start of the First World War. Although it largely supports the outline provided by previous research, it draws new attention to the importance of the loans which were authorised in the wake of the US Civil War in the 1860s. It also explores the relationship between these loans and the decline of mortality in areas which have previously been identified as 'high-performing and high-contributing areas' to Britain's late-nineteenth century mortality decline, and presents new evidence linking these loans to the improvements which occurred.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages38
JournalThe History of the Family
Volume24
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2019
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 8 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

loan
mortality
nineteenth century
end of the war
Loans
Mortality
Wales
England
First World War
health
civil war
parliament
act
evidence

Keywords

  • sanitation
  • public health
  • mortality
  • water supply
  • urbanisation
  • England and Wales

Cite this

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Sanitary investment and the decline of urban mortality in England and Wales, 1817-1914. / Harris, Bernard; Hinde, Andrew.

Vol. 24, No. 2, 08.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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