How Victorian Britain beat a pandemic

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In the 1800s a global pandemic took hold as people moved to unhealthy cities for better wages in factories.

Britain, at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution, tried to find ways to control the pandemic that was disrupting its economy. By 1842 average life expectancy in Liverpool had fallen to only 26 years. Government efforts came to nothing until Florence Nightingale returned from the Crimean War in 1856. After 15 years of political campaigning, supported by Edwin Chadwick and William Farr, Parliament enacted her public health legislation and death rates fell sharply.

This book explains why ignorance of the Victorian public health breakthrough is costing lives today, including from Covid-19. It includes two of the author’s articles on the subject published in 2020 in scientific journals, identifying the knowledge we have lost.