For those people who had lived in Court Housing, houses built back to back and facing each other across a narrow passage, the idea of moving into a property of their own where they did not have to share a house and use a communal toilet with numerous others was beyond their wildest dreams. Yet following recommendations by Dr Duncan who had seen at first hand the squalor such people were living in, the council were forced to look again at housing in the city. William Henry Duncan (1805-1863) was born in Liverpool, qualified in Edinburgh, and then moved back to Liverpool to work in general practice. He became physician to the Liverpool Infirmary and began to campaign for improvements to the appalling living conditions of his patients. He was appointed Liverpool's Medical Officer of Health on 1 January 1847. Doctor Duncan was behind a programme of street-cleaning, improved water supplies and dwellings and the installation of sewers. This enabled the city to combat the return of cholera in 1854.


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