Who made the biggest impact to public health, Bevan in the 20th century or Chadwick in the 19th century?
Chadwick believed in using science as a means for social improvement and in 1832 he was asked to serve on a royal commission to investigate the effectiveness of the Poor Laws - a system of social security in place since 1601. His work contributed to the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act.
In the course of his investigations into the living conditions of the poor, Chadwick became interested in the problem of sanitation.
He was convinced that active measures such as cleaning, drainage and ventilation would make people healthier and therefore less dependent on welfare.
In 1831 there was an outbreak of cholera, followed by epidemics of influenza and typhoid in 1837 and 1838. This prompted the government to ask Chadwick to carry out a new inquiry into sanitation.
In the report of Chadwick’s inquiry into the sanitary conditions of the laboring population (1842) , it said how Chadwick used quantitative methods to show that there was a direct link between poor living conditions and disease and life expectancy.
This investigation inspired the public health act of 1848, and the establishment of the general board of health, of which Chadwick was the first director. The board tried to improve water supply and sewers and medical officers to inspect encouraged reform.
How did the board improve the public health?
Most at the time had to share outside toilets and got water from a street pump. Night men cleaned these toilets and carts carried waste away. Taxes were put in place that paid for cleaning streets and building sewers and water pipes.
All of this work meant there was much more government involvement.
The successes of the modifications lead the government to enforce reform on towns with high death rates.
Although Chadwick worked tirelessly for reform, as an individual he could be sour, impatient and insensitive.
He became one of the most important...