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Did Sewers Save Lives, Public Health in Ipswich 1840 to 1911

Wednesday 28th October 2015

Our talk for October was given by Dr Anne Folan the subject of the history of public health in Ipswich between 1840 and 1911. Dr Folan had thoroughly researched this period as part of her PhD thesis and was able to provide a most interesting talk covering the changes and innovations during this period of immense social and infrastructure changes. The talk placed Ipswich's status against that of other town in different parts of the country, the talk moved from the Edwin Chadwick report of 1842, and the public health act of 1848 which Ipswich did not opt into through the changes made in Ipswich during the period up to 1911. The talk focused on the sewer system and privies that were almost exclusively part of living at the start of the period. The expansion of the Ipswich sewer system and move from privies to lavatories were all discussed, highlighting particular significant events and people who made the changes happen. The talk was placed in context by some discussion of other public health issues and diseases of the period. This talk was packed with interesting insights of the period and was followed by a lively question and answer session.

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