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The terrible conditions during the industrial revolution and the impact it had on the general health and life expectancy of individuals was shocking. in 1842 in Manchester, for example, the life expectancy of a member of the gentry or a professional was 38 years, whereas a worker, had that of only 17. Outside of the manufacturing centres, the life expectancy was a little higher. The life expectancy for a member of higher class was 52 years and that of a craftsperson or farm labourer was 38. In the early part of the 19th century the life expectancy in most parts of Britain was that of only 20!

Until the first quarter of the 19th century most forms of public medical assistance were voluntary, provided mainly by charitable organisations, idealistic doctors and clergymen, Quaker businessmen and other non-conformists. It was not until the outbreaks of large scale Infectious Diseases in the 1830s, such as cholera and typhus, that the government and local councils started paying attention to the appalling conditions in the slums and the grave risks posed by the overcrowding in substandard housing, by contaminated wells, lack of a sewage system etc.

The solutions to these problems seem obvious to us, but we must remember that little was known about diseases, bacteria, viruses and infections at that time. It took decades of observation for people to realise that people living in filthy, overcrowded, damp houses with bad water supply were ill more often than people who lived in less deprived conditions. But even discovering that didn't bring a change anytime soon.

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โˆ™ 2008-05-14 15:30:40
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Q: 19th century living conditions
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