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The public health history of Liverpool

Read about the public health history of Liverpool, an important frontrunner in the public health movement in Britain.
The Liverpool Royal Infirmary, opened in 1889

As you are now part of Liverpool, you may want to know a little bit about the public health history of our great city! Liverpool was an important frontrunner in the public health movement in Britain.

The School of Hygiene and University Department of Hygiene

The School of Hygiene and University Department of Hygiene were formed in 1897. This academic interest reflected the need of the people and was a positive sign of the collaboration between the new Liverpool University College and the City Corporation, which had created the first municipal public health department in Britain in 1847, with Dr William Henry Duncan as the country’s first Medical Officer of Health.

Liverpool: a pioneer in the field of public health

Liverpool remained, and remains to this day, a pioneer in the field of public health. Discussing the horrendous times of the cholera epidemics in Britain, Liverpool was an early embracer of public health improvements by implementing a large programme of sanitary reform, health visiting and mother and infant welfare centres, and built Britain’s first municipal housing scheme in 1870.

Mass X-ray programme, 1959

In the 20th century, Liverpool continued its journey with innovative public health interventions, such as one that you can see here in the picture, which was one of the first population screening programmes for tuberculosis (1959). In the Covid-19 pandemic, Liverpool was the first city in the UK to pilot a Covid-19 mass population testing scheme.

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