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Public Health Act 1875

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Citation  38 & 39 c 55
Royal assent  11 August 1875

Long title  An Act for consolidating and amending the Acts relating to Public Health in England.

The Public Health Act 1875 (c 55) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is one of the Public Health Acts.

Its purpose was to combat filthy urban living conditions, which caused various public health threats, including the spread of many diseases such as cholera and typhus. Reformers wanted to resolve sanitary problems, because sewage was flowing down the street daily, including the presence of sewage in living quarters. The Act required all new residential construction to include running water and an internal drainage system. This Act also led to the government prohibiting the construction of shoddy housing by building contractors. The Act also meant that every public health authority had to have a medical officer and a sanitary inspector, to ensure the laws on food, housing, water and hygiene were carried out.

Many factors delayed reform, however, such as the fact that to perform a cleanup, the government would need money, and this would have to come from factory owners, who were not keen to pay, and this further delayed reform. But reformers eventually helped to counteract the government's laissez-faire attitude, and a public health Act was introduced in 1875. Home Secretary Richard Cross was responsible for drafting the legislation, and received much good will from trades union groups in the consequent years for "humanising the toil of the working man".

The Act also meant that towns had to have pavements and street lighting.


Public Health Act 1875 Wikipedia