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Eugenics and public health in Britain, 1900-40: scenes from provincial life

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Associated organisational unit

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/1997
<mark>Journal</mark>Urban History
Number of pages20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Historians have attempted to assess the impact of eugenics on public health provision in a number of fields including mental health, birth control, voluntary sterilization and housing. However, most of this work has concentrated on debates at the national level, and we know much less about the ways in which eugenics may have helped shape health services in provincial cities. It has been suggested that Leicester was a city in which eugenicists were particularly prominent, and this article examines the impact of eugenics on three aspects of public health between 1900 and 1940; mental health, birth control and housing. It concludes that while eugenics did have a practical outcome in mental health and birth control, its influence on housing policy was more elusive, and 1935 marked a turning-point after which eugenics was less significant in health policy and intellectual life.

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=UHY The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Urban History, 24 (1), pp 56-75 1997, © 1997 Cambridge University Press.