Public Health

Public Health

Public Health is a term given to attempts to limit and prevent disease and ill health.

The study of Public Health includes:

  • Understanding of the reasons for epidemics
  • The way in which people and the government attempted to deal with outbreaks
  • The development of preventative measures
  • An evaluation of the success of these measures
  • Reasons why progress was limited at various times in history

You will study the following areas of Public health:

The Ancient World

Roman Public Health Revision Diagram Roman Public Health (overview)

This study concentrates on the ideas that the Romans had and the way that they implemented these within the Roman Empire. It includes looking at the reasoning behind the Romans actions and the benefits, or otherwise, of these ideas.

Medieval Europe

In this study we look at the consequences of the fall of the Roman Empire in europe. We assess whether Public health provision was entirely regressive, or whether there were elements of continuity or progress. The Black Death is used as a case study to analyse the way in which governments and people reacted to epidemics.


The Renaissance – link to old lesson about the great Plague (needs updating – will be done within a week)

We explore the reasons why the scientific breakthroughs of the age didn’t result in improved Public health provision at that time. The Great Plague of London is used as an example to evaluate the changes in practice from the medieval period through to the mid 17th century as we look at continuity and change and the impact of different beliefs on Public Health.

The Industrial Revolution

In this study we look at the impact of Industrialisation on towns and the way that rapid Industrial growth affected the lives of ordinary people. We ask what the government did to help ordinary people in need and analyse the reasons why changes in sanitation, housing and welfare were often opposed. In this study we focus on several major acts of parliament and use local historical sources to develop an understanding of the way in which these acts of parliament helped or hindered people at the time.

This section incorporates a great deal of source material on Public Health. It includes entries on Workhouses, Cholera, The Poor Law Amendment Act, A report on the Conditions of Woolcombers, Conditions in Leeds, Edwin Chadwick, the City of Bradford, Philanthropists (Titus Salt), Working Conditions, Statistics, Sewage and the Health of Children.

The 20th Century

In this study you build an understanding of the reasons for changes in the way that the Government intervenes on behalf of the people. In particular we study the Liberal Reforms of 1906-14 and the introduction of the National Health Service following the the end of the Second World War. International attempts to ensure a minimum standard of Public health are also explored through a study of the United Nations role and the work of the World health organisation.