Public Health glossary

air-borne disease
A disease that is transmitted through the air.
Board of Health
Established in 1848 by the Public Health Act of the same year, the Board of Health advised local government areas on their health issues including the appointment of inspectors and lifestyle recommendations.
cholera
A water-borne disease characterised by stomach-ache, cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.
diphtheria
A highly infectious disease often characterised by swelling of the nose and throat.
epidemic
A disease that spreads rapidly or in which the numbers of new victims are high.
Health of Towns Association
A political pressure group formed in 1844 to encourage the government to pass public health legislation and to establish sanitary reform.
Household Words
A journal, published and edited by the author Charles Dickens, which began in 1850. In it, Dickens published serialised fiction as well as topical articles.
Jacob's Island
A notorious slum in Bermondsey, south London. Overcrowded with poor sanitation.
Leeds Board of Health
A local Board of Health that commissioned a report from Dr. Robert Baker that investigated living and working conditions in Leeds as well as the effect of the cholera epidemic of 1832.
manifesto
A public declaration or proclamation, stating the aims and methods of a campaign group.
Metropolitan Sanitary Association
Established in 1848, the group campaigned for the legislation of the Public Health Act of 1848 to apply to London which was initially exempt.
personification
The attribution of human form or characteristics to something that is not human.
Poor Law Commission
Established to administer poor relief after the Poor Law legislation of 1834.
Public Health Act
The Public Health Act of 1848 established a Central Board of Health to act in an advisory capacity to local authorities. It recommended that local authorities managed sewers, drainages, burial grounds and public baths.
Punch
A weekly magazine, established in 1841, that interpreted topical issues in a humorous but inoffensive way.
Sanitary Reform
A series of measures and recommendations meant to improve the living and working conditions of Britain's population.
scrofula
A form of tuberculosis affecting the lymph nodes in the neck.
slum
A densely populated area, often with poor quality housing and little or no adequate sanitation.
water-borne disease
A disease that is transmitted by water.