By Merril Eisenbud
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Additional info for Environment, Technology, and Health: Human Ecology in Historical Perspective
He devoted his life to the subject of public health, and deserves major credit for starting the sanitary movement in the nineteenth centuryY Chadwick was a disciple of Jeremy Bentham, whose earlier work established the first Ministry of Health and laid the legislative basis for much that was to follow. A wealthy mill owner, Robert Owen, also played an outstanding role, both in the manner in which he operated his mills and through his many writings about the responsibilities of mill owners for the well-being of their employees.
Engels, Friedrich, "The Condition of the Working Class in England" (Blackwell, Oxford, 1845) (trans. and ed. by W. 0. Henderson and W. H. , New York (1958). 5. British Parliamentary Papers: Report of the Minutes of Evidence on the State of Children Employed in the Manufactories of the United Kingdom, Together with a Report of the Employment of Boys in Sweeping Chimneys with Minutes of Evidence and Appendix. House of Commons, 1816 and 1817. Reprinted by Irish Univ. Press, Shannon, Ireland (1968).
In Edinburgh, the contents of a large proportion of sinks, drains, and privies of that city were conveyed to covered sewers which entered into a stream called the Foul Burn, which thus became a large, uncovered sewer. Nearby farmers diverted the stream so that its contents could be deposited on their land. About 300 acres of meadow were so treated, and they did become highly productive, but the practice was understandably opposed by nearby inhabitants as being offensive. From all reports, the early part of the nineteenth century was a period in the development of Western civilization when men, women, and children were taxed to the limits of their physical endurance in their homes, the streets, and their places of employment.