Edwin Chadwick was important in improving public health as his work illustrated the problems, such as pollution from factories and a lack of clean water, associated with the majority of towns in the Industrial revolution. However, his impact was not the only factor that had influence on public health; other individuals, the government and public attitudes were also significant in changing the public health services throughout the C19th.
Chadwick’s first major impact was his 1842 ‘Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population’, in which he showed that the poor were living in dirty, overcrowded areas which caused a huge amount of disease, and also that many people were too sick to work so they became poorer still, resulting in the rest of the population needing to pay higher taxes. Not only did Chadwick highlight the problems, he also suggested potential solutions. He proposed that in order to make towns into healthier places, authorities needed to improve drainage and sewage, remove refuse from the streets and houses, provide clean water supplies and appoint medical officers. His report resulted in Parliament passing the first British Public Health Act in 1848, establishing local and central Boards of Health.
The 1848 Public Health Act was an important move which saw Parliament become more involved in the health of the population, but its effects were not so convincing. As the Act only advised towns to take action and did not force them into any radical changes on public health, the majority of town councils took no action whatsoever, which led to the Board of Health being abolished in 1854. Another factor that limited Chadwick was his character – many people found him both rude and dictatorial. Some would even go as far as to say that they would rather take their chance with cholera than be told what to do by Chadwick. The final, and probably