public health acts

notes on the 1848 and 1875 public health acts

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1848 public health act

This act encoraged but didn't enforce the following

  • councils to collect taxes for public health improvements such as improving water supplies and sewerage disposials.
  • councils to appoint a medical officer of health

this act was set up following the cholera outbreak in 1848

as it was only encoraged not very many councils took part in this act.

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1875 public health act

forced councils to improve public health by forcing them to:

  • provide clean water, public toliets and proper sewers
  • appoint a medical officer of health

factors encoraging the 1875 public health act

science and technology

  • pasteurs germ theory in 1861 proved to the government that germs and dirt was the cause of disease
  • John snow's work in 1854 showed government the link between dirty water and cholera and was backed up by germ thory later on.


  • edwin chadwick- put pressure on government after producing a report linking bad living conditions with high death rates
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factors encoraging 1875 public health act. continu


  • 1867- working men get the vote which means government willing to listen to working class views and willing to interfere with public health now as the realise it's in everyones interest to have cleaner towns. This destroys laissez-faire attitudes.
  • 1858- great stink encorages government to act and leads to london sewers scheme.
  • office of national satistics- allowed a accurate picture of where death rates were highest and showed areas that needed improving. It also helped John snow with his research.
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