Title: Report from the Poor Law Commissioners on an Inquiry into the Sanitary Conditions of the
Labouring Population of Great Britain

Author: Edwin Chadwick

Date: 1842




Chadwick's Report on Sanitary Conditions
Copyright: Craig Thornber, England, United Kingdom


pp. 369-372

Description: This famous report of health conditions of the poor in London helped the passage of the Public Health Act of 1848.

Assessment: Chadwick’s report doesn’t offer much in the way of a code, but it likely formed the basis of subsequent building codes, particularly since public health drove urban plans and codes in the 19th century in Britain and elsewhere. The book includes a survey of sanitary conditions, discussion of nuisance law and other bases for public regulation of public health, and a number of commentaries or more specific reports by others. Chadwick’s concerns/ recommendations are mostly about cleaning, sewers, road grading, and water supply. There is also a discussion of building codes that prevented spread of fires as exemplars of regulation for public health; regularized, rectangular blocks are seen as desirable for public health esp. planning of sewers; several mentions of overcrowding being a problem suggest limits on building height and bulk, as well as the possibility of setbacks.