Also in this picture there is no medical equipment or any facilities of that kind, this elaborates on how even when there are so many people in need of help, they are simply not being given enough help to supplement their needs. When looking at Source C it is hard to depict who is, and who isn’t a nurse. There seem to be quite a few women walking around, but they could be and probably are just visitors. So this again adds to the idea of the poor not having enough help.
Having looked at the 2 sources and now thinking about poverty and lack of knowledge and which one was the cause of poor health amongst Manchester’s inhabitants, I would say that both of these causes are equally to blame.
Source B I would say is fairly reliable, but could just be trying to make a point, but what it describes shows both poverty and lack of knowledge about hygiene as problems. From looking at source C, I feel it is implying that poverty is leading to bad hospitals and poor health. But this source does not have enough information to go with it, to prove whether or not it was drawn from real life, who arterially drew it, and why. It does show that there were many poor people ill (in the poor law hospital) and very little medical knowledge to help them.
Does this make either or both of them unreliable?
Source D was written in 1849 by a man named A. Bamford. He is giving us an account of his childhood memories at his Uncle’s house. The source is at first giving off this picture of neatly rowed houses facing the ‘morning sun’. unlike the perception we were given from the previous sources A;B this source is implying that instead of having sewage, smoke and stagnant pools surrounding the outside area of the house, these houses are endured with neatly paved footpaths and a causey for carts.
When describing the insides of these houses, they are quite different to the ones in source B. the bottom floor contains 4 looms which shows the wealth and stature that these people are in, by this I am suggesting that their family business is giving them the opportunities which enable them to afford the luxuries which are mentioned a bit later on in the source.
The house interior is described as cleanly and comfortable, there are such objects as the mahogany chest, which is of course put into the category of a ‘wealthy object’. These pieces of furniture are said to be well polished, which could also indicate that these people have enough time and conceivably even enough knowledge to know that keeping things clean is a good start to a way of living a healthy lifestyle.
Source E is a photograph of a narrow court in Manchester 1870. When first looking at the source you can see that it is a narrow alleyway between houses with 2 laboring women standing in the center of the picture. The court looks damp, dark, dirty and very grim. The source suggests and gives the feeling that these people are having to live in a quite unbearable situation, very different to the sunny cottages in Source D. but the difference can be explained.
When thinking about the reliability of each of the sources I would first like to comment on Source D and how it was written by a man in 1849 (a time in which the industrial revolution was well established) who was reflecting back to when he was a child in probably the late 1700’s, pre-industrial revolution. At this point in time the domestic system was in full swing, and so many people were living in the country taking control of their lives, and for many who had their own businesses, as they do in Source D, it meant that generally their standard of living was quite good. So basically when comparing the 2 sources in terms of the times they were about, we can see that on account of source D being taken before the industrial revolution and then source E being made after, it clearly makes a big difference to the impressions we get about the living conditions.
We must also consider the actuality that this man is reflecting right back to his childhood and so consequently we could find that a lot of what he is remembering is perhaps twisted to some point. So this evidence is not entirely reliable. The book may be auto biographical but may also contain a lot of fiction to make it more interesting for public viewing.
When taking into account the fact that cameras were first being used amongst people around the time that source E was taken, it leads you to feel slightly suspicious. This photograph is particularly odd for that time, as cameras were usually used to take pictures for, for instance wealthy, well accustomed families. But this photograph has been taken in quite a reverse situation. The surroundings are damp, dark and dirty.
Cameras of that time would have also taken a long time to set up, this could be implying that although this picture shows what conditions were arterially like, it could still in fact be a set up. As neither the name of the person who took the photograph or the reason why are given, so it is difficult to say how reliable it is.
So in conclusion to this I would say that neither source should be passed off as unreliable just because they give different impressions of housing.
Houses would vary in different parts of Manchester at different times. They are difficult to compare as Source D shows the inside of a house whereas the photograph shows the outside. Bamfords books (D) may have bits of truth as he knew it but has been made into a fictional novel and because we don’t know why photograph E was taken it may of may not be reliable.
How useful are these sources to a historian studying how progress in medicine made by 1860, affected the health of Manchester’s inhabitants?
By 1860, there had been some, but little progress in medical understanding and knowledge. The registration of doctors had just been introduced, Dr. John Snow had proved that cholera had been carried through the water supply, Nightingale school for nurses had been set up in 1860. Then a bit later on Pasteur published the germ theory of disease.
Source G is an autobiography by Lily Horbury written in 1974, she is reflecting back to her childhood in Lancaster c1900. She is talking about the medical treatments which were available around her time, and how they were very expensive and unreliable. This meant that many people either were unable to use the treatments due to the fact that they couldn’t afford them. Or just didn’t think it was worthwhile. She goes on to describe an incident where she hurt her leg and so paid for a doctor to come and treat her. He used a basic iodine treatment which resulted in the whole situation being far worse than it had started off. So fundamentally this source is showing people’s attitudes towards doctors and medical treatments at that time.
Source F shows a box for the so- called, ‘Beecham’s Pills’. The box sows a well dressed, beautiful, upper class woman. The pills were probably sold at the chemists, where you could buy them without any interference from the doctor. They were made from a series of simply ingredients but were charged at a ridiculous price, even when the ingredients cost less than 1% of the price. These pills aimed at upper class women who are able to afford such prices.
It tells us hoe Thomas Beecham, the man who invented the pills, made a fortune from them. This shows how people were easily persuaded by advertisement, but at the same time were aware of their own health and were trying to look and feel good. Also the upper class women were probably pressurized to buy the pills as they might have felt in competition with one another to look the most beautiful.
Although this source, produced in 1891 after many medical discoveries had been made, it doesn’t tell us if such things as vaccination ( which is one of the most important discoveries of that time) made any effect on people’s health.
But what it does imply is that as people became aware of their own health they began to take interest in such things as Beecham’s Pills, even though they didn’t really acknowledge what exactly they were taking.
When thinking as a historian who is studying how progress in medicine made by 1860 affected the health of Manchester’s inhabitants, I do not think that they would find these sources that beneficial. The sources give no direct references as to how these improvements helped to control illnesses amongst the inhabitants.
J.P. Kay Shuttleworth expressed the opinion “The state of the streets powerfully affects the health of the inhabitants.” Do the sources support his view, or do they suggest that it is wrong or that it is only a partial explanation of ill-health in Manchester in this period? Use all the sources to explain your answer.
Source A is an extract written by Kay Shuttleworth. He is strongly suggesting that the bad health amongst the laboring population living in Manchester, is badly affected by the poor state of the streets. He supports this argument by bringing forth a series of public health issues such as heaps of rubbish being left lying around, stagnant pools, poorly drained and poorly ventilated houses, all of these things which contribute to bad health.
Source B is a report of committee on health of towns written by J. Robertson in 1840, a few years after Source A was first written.
It is inclining that due to the lack of interference from the authorities, such things as the state of the street are being quite openly over-looked. It links disease and death with poverty and unemployment, so although source B is in alliance with source A, it is still bringing other causes such as poverty, lack of work and expensive food into the picture. It does this by claiming that these things are also leading to bad health amongst Manchester’s inhabitants.
Source C is an illustration of a poor law hospital in Manchester 1842, it shows no evidence of who drew it and why exactly it was drawn. It shows a hospital with rows of beds, each one of them occupied. The room is, although quite large, crowded with people. There is no medical equipment, or surgical rooms, and by the looks of things there are no doctors or nurses around to deal with the situation. This source partly agrees with source A as it is a hospital set up for the poor who are having to live in areas which source A is describing. So as this hospital is so busy it could be implying that many of the poor are becoming ill, but whether this is due to the conditions of the streets we do not know, as there are no implications to support that idea. Source C is also bringing forth the idea that lack of medical knowledge and the bad state of hospitals for the poor are also leading to further problems. So really from this we can conclude that source A is only half the picture.
Source D is an autobiography by A. Bamford in 1849. It is giving us an account of living conditions at a similar time to source A but in a different area where the living conditions are sunny, clean, wealthy and just basically a lot better to those of source A. so as this source is not obviously agreeing with A, we could imply that in contrast this source is saying that source A is wrong. But then again we could bring in the term, “inference”
Source E is a photograph of a narrow court in Manchester 1870. The place looks dirty, damp and dull. Although these bad conditions are blatantly obvious, we cannot be sure that it is the state of the streets that is affecting the inhabitants. Source E agrees with source A to the point that the streets were in very bad conditions, but to any further point we cannot be sure.
Source F is a box for the so-called, “Beecham’s Pills” 1891. These pills would be classed as a home medicine, you would be able to buy them from the chemist without any implications from the doctor. This source shows how people were evidently aware about their health and so people must been getting ill, but still this source is only, really mildly supporting source A. It is on the other hand suggesting that the people’s lack of knowledge, reluctance to got to the doctors, and their ability to be easily persuaded by money making schemes, are leading to situations where people could be getting ill but not knowing what to do and how to prevent it.
Source G is an autobiography written by Lily Horbury in 1974. She tells us about how she was treated for a leg injury by a doctor, but due to his sheer lack of knowledge in this predicament her leg just got worse. This source is generally giving us an idea of how people’s attitudes towards doctors were quite permissive. People felt quite reluctant to pay such a high fee when really doctors didn’t really do that much in terms of helping people’s health. There is nothing in this source that applies to bad street conditions, and whether this affected the Manchester inhabitants.
So therefore this source does not really disagree with source A, but nor does it agree with it, it just merely expresses a different situation with different causes for bad health amongst the people.
Source H is a graph showing deaths from smallpox between 1848-1920 in England and Wales. It starts by showing how when vaccination was first introduced the amount of deaths started to decrease. But then soon increased again at a very fast pace, then due to vaccination being made compulsory in 1872 the amount of deaths very rapidly decreased. So essentially this graph is about medical progress, government action and experimentation of disease in Britain and in terms of the graph, Smallpox.
So really this source is again as in source G, showing other causes when compared to source A. it shows the importance of government action and medical knowledge in reducing ill health. It doesn’t imply that the cause of disease is at all related to the state of the streets, as it does in source A.
So when thinking about the original question I would say that although sources B,D and E suggest that ill health was due to the bad conditions in towns, the majority suggest that there were other things to blame, for instance lack of knowledge and progress of medicine.
Sources Band H also bring into play the idea of government intervention and how that also played a big role in the cause and prevention of bad health.