Cholera and the Fight for Public Health Reform in Mid-Victorian England


By Dr Geoff Gill, published 31st May 2000

Of the many social changes that occurred during the Victorian age, public health reform is widely agreed to be one of the most significant. In the early Victorian era the vast majority of Britons drank water from murky ponds and rivers, carried to their dwellings in buckets; and their excrement was deposited into the streets and paths outside their houses. By the end of the century however, piped water from wells or lakes was widespread in all but the most rural areas, as was the disposal of urine and faeces by comprehensive systems of sewage pipes.

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