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The Nuisances Removal and Diseases Prevention Act 1846

Designed as temporary legislation to stem the spread of cholera, legislation set out procedures for the removal of 'nuisances' and increased the regulatory powers of the Privy Council.

January 1847

First medical officer of health

William Henry Duncan was appointed as medical officer of health in Liverpool to ensure that sanitary conditions were improved to stem the spread of disease.


Public Health Act 1848 and the General Board of Health

Following extensive debate on Britain's poor sanitary conditions, the Act established the General Board of Health and local boards to advise on public health matters.


United Kingdom Vaccination Act 1853

Legislation made it compulsory for all children born after 1 August 1853 to be vaccinated against smallpox during their first 3 months of life.


John Snow and the Broad Street cholera outbreak

Anaesthetist John Snow proved that cholera was spread by contaminated water by linking the outbreak to a single water source. Later, Robert Koch identified the bacteria that caused cholera.


Nuisances Removal and Diseases Prevention Acts consolidation and amendment

Legislation required local authorities to employ sanitary inspectors and gave local authorities powers to enter properties containing 'nuisances'.


Florence Nightingale promotes ideas on sanitary nursing

Florence Nightingale returned from the Crimean War and began to promote her ideas on sanitary nursing.


The General Medical Council

Established by the Medical Act 1858, the General Medical Council brought greater regulation of the qualifications of practitioners in medicine and surgery.


Public Health Act 1858

The Act abolished the General Board of Health. Its responsibilities were taken on by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Local Government Act Office, and the Privy Council.