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Public Health Issues and General Practice in the Area of Middlesbrough, 1880-1980

BROWN, VICTORIA,ANN (2012) Public Health Issues and General Practice in the Area of Middlesbrough, 1880-1980. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (Doctoral Thesis) - Accepted Version


The thesis looks at the industrial town of Middlesbrough from 1880-1980. It examines public health issues the town encountered, with particular reference to General Practitioners (GPs), assessing their interactions with the community, local authorities, industry and medical professionals.

The rationale for this study was to evaluate the relationships the GPs formed within the town and how they responded to the changing nature of health in Middlesbrough as the century under investigation progressed. GPs are often overlooked within medical history; therefore, the study provided an opportunity to examine their role over an extended period.

The thesis utilized a previously unused archival resource, the Dr Geoffrey Stout Collection (Teesside Archives, Middlesbrough). Additionally, it analysed Medical Officer of Health reports, local newspapers, medical journals, council minutes and comparable secondary literature sources. Oral history interviews with retired GPs from the area were also collected throughout the project.
The thesis determined that GPs within Middlesbrough had complex relationships with the principle stakeholders of the town, the attitudes of the GPs, especially towards public health, often being in conflict with the town’s officials. Middlesbrough’s association with industry compromised the community’s health; this complicated not only the GPs relationship with the community but, on occasion, caused the town’s authorities to delay in their response to outbreaks of disease in order to protect Middlesbrough’s industrial paymasters.

This thesis provides a continuous outline of the role of GPs in an industrial town, not only at the height of its success but also during the post-WW2 decline. It presents analysis of the GPs interactions, roles, attitudes, successes and failures. Additionally, it reviews the town’s health and the attempts made to combat disease, improve sanitation and reconstruct housing. The study establishes the origin of the town’s long-term association with poor health, a topic still pertinent and relevant in modern policy debate.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Middlesbrough; General Practice; Public Health; Epidemics; Oral History
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Medicine and Health, School of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Oct 2012 10:19

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