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"Bringing beauty and brightness to the backstreets": health education and public health in England and Wales, 1890-1940

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/1997
<mark>Journal</mark>Health Education Journal
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)199-209
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper examines the place of health education in public health in England and Wales between 1890 and 1940. It traces the way that local authorities developed health education for mothers, schoolchildren, and those suffering from tuberculosis and venereal disease, considers the establishment of the Central Council for Health Education in 1927 and the content of its journal, Better Health, and provides a case study of health education in one city, Leicester. The paper notes an important transition in health education in the mid-1930s, but concludes that overall the work of the Ministry of Health, local authorities, and voluntary organisations in this area was motivated more by anxieties about morality and citizenship than a genuine concern with health and disease. It suggests that in the period 1890-1940, as today, delays and advances in medical expertise, ideas about the relationship between the individual and the state, and wider concepts of morality and citizenship all had an important impact on the changing content and role of health education.