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Thread: Country's First Medical Health Officer

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    Member garstonlad75's Avatar
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    Default Country's First Medical Health Officer

    Dr William Henry Duncan.

    Dr William Duncan was Liverpool's and the country's first Medical Officer of Health. He was born in Seel Street in Liverpool in 1805. Duncan studied medicine at Edinburgh University, graduating as a Doctor of Medicine in 1829.

    Try the pub named after him on St Johns Lane (Queens Square side of St. Georges Hall)


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    Last edited by garstonlad75; 11-18-2005 at 05:38 PM.

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    SOME of Liverpool's top public health experts gathered last night to honour one of the most significant figures in the city's history.

    Representatives from universities and regional health authorities met in the city centre, to pay a belated 200th birthday tribute to the Victorian public health pioneer, Dr William Henry Duncan, who is still remembered in the city thanks to Doctor Duncan's pub, in St John's Lane.

    As the first-ever officer of health, Dr Duncan battled tire-lessly to improve sanitation and relieve the appalling conditions of the working class-districts, which had no sewers.

    He realised that cramped housing conditions were the cause of high death rates in Liverpool, which he called "the most unhealthy town in England."

    He wrote a report into his findings which forced the council to introduce the Liverpool Sanitary Act of 1846 and led to his appointment, a year later, as the first Medical Officer of Health in both the city and the country.

    Dr Duncan pioneered street cleaning programmes, and worked with others to clean up the great port of Liverpool.

    His main collaborators were borough engineer James Newlands, and Inspector of Nuisances Thomas Fresh. Together they improved water supplies and sewer installation to prevent epidemics of cholera and typhoid. more
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    Too old to suffer sweetpatooti's Avatar
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    Default Dr Duncan

    Just as an item of trivia - it was Dr Duncan's idea to whitewash the backyard walls with limewash as it killed the germs - me grandad did his backyard every year and the limewash was about three inches thick!! This was back in the 60s before the "slum clearance".....ah the good ol' days...rickets,impetigo...

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    Lightbulb In case you didn't know...

    ... I don't think it's been mentioned here but Dr Duncan's birthplace is The Blue Angel Nightclub on Seel Street, fondly known to us all as The Raz. Strange that a drinking place for medical students is so steeped in medical history.

    If you're ever passing by Seel Street have a look for the plaque on the wall of The Blue Angel.

    ~Esther xxx

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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. Will look out for that.

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