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               19TH CENTURY MEDICINE (1801 – 1900)

               19th century civilisation

·         INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – a great explosion of industry and economy (also new industrial diseases e.g. dermatitis and lung disease)

·         URBANISATION – increase of proportion of people living in towns and cities (and public health problems e.g. cholera and typhus)

·         GROWTH OF EMPIRES – and contact with new diseases e.g. yellow fever.

·         GROWTH OF IMMENSE WEALTH – based on trade and industry which created money that could be spent on public health and medical research.

·         ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY – which led to medical machines such as the electrocardiograph.

·         IMPROVED COMMUNICATIONS – allowed doctors to gain information from around the world.

·         GROWTH OF SCIENCE AND RESEARCH – this led to medical breakthroughs.

·         DEMOCRACY AND SOCIALISM – people believed they had the right to good health, this was one of the ‘rights of man’ claimed by working class citizens in France which is why the medical revolution of the 19th century started in France

·         NEW IDEAS – EVOLUTION (Charles Darwin) and GENETICS (Gregor Mendel). This broke the control of the church over medicine and medical ethics.

·         WARS - more wars on a greater scale created mass injuries that required new medical and surgical equipment.


19th century Medical knowledge


·         Louis Pasteur (French) discovered in the 1860s that germs caused disease.

-          Pasteurisation of milk was one on the spin-off discoveries, which killed germs to prevent milk from going sour.

-          He also found a cure for sour wine.

·         This V.IMPORTANT DISCOVERY led to Robert Koch learning that you could grow and stain different types of bacteria.

-          He used this method to discover the specific bacteria that caused particular diseases e.g. he found the bacteria that caused SEPTICAEMIA (1878), TUBERCULOSIS (1882) and CHOLERA (1883).

·         In the same period, other bacteria were discovered,



I've just started using this site; I must admit the notes are really good and beneficial.I feel that they are a lot better than BBC Bitesize.


THANK YOU!!!! these notes are amazing! I know you made these notes from bitesize but those ones are way too long! these are really simplified! sooooooooooooooooooo glad I found them just as you posted them cos i was gonna go buy some THICK textbooks today from Letts :) I'm only using these notes to revise for my medicine through time and my surgery exams and they are really helpful, thanks a lot dude :D

Priya Farmah

Really informative - thanks :D

Huda Musa

Really helpful! Thank you!


Really handy thanks ! 

Miss E

A very good summary of the industrial era of medicine covering society, surgery and public health. Use these notes to create flash cards, a quiz or a mind map on the topic.


This is just incredible. A fantastic revision resource, thank you so much


GREAT! Thanks for these notes... its been a huge help!!1

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