Advert for T Harvey & Co's soap, reverse side
The 1848 Public Health Act did a great deal to improve Britain's water supplies and helped to stem outbreaks of typhoid and cholera. At the same time, doctors studying infection began to understand the importance of personal hygiene in preventing disease. The vast majority of the public, however, did not bathe regularly, and there were few effective sterilising treatments for cuts and abrasions.
This front of this advert for Harvey's soap makes the rather unreassuring point that the product poses no risk of "blood poisoning or skin disease" to the user. What must others soaps of the time have been like?