Sanitary Inspectors' Reports in Basingstoke Union in the 1860s showing conditions and infectious disease
There was a new initiative to prevent the spread of infectious diseases from dirty conditions following the Diseases Prevention Act of 1855; the link between dirty water and bad sanitation and diseases like cholera had been accepted, although the mechanism was not understood. Union Medical Officers all over England were sent out into their Districts to report on the sanitary conditions of the people in their parishes, and fortunately their reports are copied into the Minute Books of Basingstoke Union.
The reports give a revealing insight into the living conditions of ordinary people in much of this rural Union in 1866, some statistics on illness and mortality, and including odd bits of information on specific locations and parishes, distribution of cottages and their occupation, land drainage and sanitary conditions in Monk Sherborne and Worting village schools. Each doctor has his own style of reporting, but the resulting outcomes are basically the same - things were grim.
Reports for the town of Basingstoke are presented in a separate item.
The reports for the Districts of the Union with their parishes are transcribed here, with an index page. Note that some place names are in contemporary spelling and are different from modern ones.
HRO, PL3/5/12 Minute Book for Basingstoke Union Apr 1865 to Jul 1869