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The evolution of community medicine. Part 3, The sanitary era.

Chave, Sidney.

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Credit: The evolution of community medicine. Part 3, The sanitary era. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

About this work


The third in an 8-part series of short lectures by Sidney Chave from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The series charts the rise of the Public Health Movement and the different ways this initial reform evolved into community medicine. This part focuses particularly on changing laws regarding public sanitation.


London : University of London Audio-Visual Centre, 1984.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (22.10 min.) : sound, color.




Copyright note

University of London

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Creator/production credits

Presented by Dr Sidney Chave, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Made by University of London Audio-Visual Centre. Produced by John Winn and Paul Wilks, edited by David Crawford.


This video is one of around 310 titles, originally broadcast on Channel 7 of the ILEA closed-circuit television network, given to Wellcome Trust from the University of London Audio-Visual Centre shortly after it closed in the late 1980s. Although some of these programmes might now seem rather out-dated, they probably represent the largest and most diversified body of medical video produced in any British university at this time, and give a comprehensive and fascinating view of the state of medical and surgical research and practice in the 1970s and 1980s, thus constituting a contemporary medical-historical archive of great interest. The lectures mostly take place in a small and intimate studio setting and are often face-to-face. The lecturers use a wide variety of resources to illustrate their points, including film clips, slides, graphs, animated diagrams, charts and tables as well as 3-dimensional models and display boards with movable pieces. Some of the lecturers are telegenic while some are clearly less comfortable about being recorded; all are experts in their field and show great enthusiasm to share both the latest research and the historical context of their specialist areas.


Segment 1 Dr Chave refers back to the previous lecture, which ended on the topic of the creation of the medical department in the Privy Council. He introduces this lecture, and discusses historical events beginning with Gladstone's government in 1868 and the passing of the Great Reform Bill in 1872. He discusses the many sanitary provisions acts that were put in force by 1870 - but says that they were so mixed up it was confusing. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:04:52:17 Length: 00:04:52:17
Segment 2 In 1869 Gladstone set up the Royal Sanitary Commission, which then made three recommendations; that there should be one central department of government with responsibility for public health, that the country should be divided into districts and that a single sanitary statute should be made. These recommendations were followed. Chave discusses the first action, the setting up of the Central Department. He also talks about how public health was subordinated to the Poor Law and about John Simon's retirement and book, 'English Sanitary Institutions'. Time start: 00:04:52:17 Time end: 00:10:54:20 Length: 00:06:02:03
Segment 3 Chave then goes on to talk about the 1872 Public Health Act, which 'virtually created a national public health service' and divided the country into districts. He discusses the increasing relevance of the role of the Medical Officers of Health. Time start: 00:10:54:20 Time end: 00:15:32:23 Length: 00:04:38:03
Segment 4 Chave continues to talk about the developing role of the Medical Officers of Health. He then discusses the 1875 Public Health Act and gives some statistics from this era. For example, the annual death rate fell from 23 to 15 per 1000 persons. He introduces the topic of the next lecture - creating specific services for vulnerable groups, including mothers and children. End credits. Time start: 00:15:32:23 Time end: 00:22:10:16 Length: 00:06:37:18


  • English

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