Edwin Chadwick

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Chadwick was a civil servant who worked for the poor law commission in the 1830s andb1840s. In 1848, he became a member of the National Board of Health. His main weakness was that he did not know how to get others on his side. He was argumentative, arrogant and rude as well as extremely hardworking.

In 1842, Chadwick published his Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population. He proved that:

The poor live in dirty, overcrowded conditions

This causes a huge amount of illness

Many people are too sick to work and so become poorer still

Therefore other people have to pay higher taxes to help the poor

His solution was for the government to reform public health. He said:

We can cut taxes and save money in the long run by: improving drainage and sewers; removing refuse from streets and houses; providing clean water supplies; appointing medical officers in each area to check these reforms.

There was a lot of opposition to Chadwick's report. Local tax payers didn't want to pay higher taxes even if it meant lower ones in the future. The government wasn't happy either. It knew that local councils did not want the national government interfering with local matters. Then came another outbreak of cholera.

As cholera spread across Europe in 1847, fear grew in the UK of many deaths to come. Chadwick's recomendations finally got followed by the government and passed the public health act of 1848 hoping that it would reduce the impact…


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