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Georgian/Regency Picture Gallery Health

The era was one of population growth, with more children surviving to adulthood
The Georgian period was one of population growth.
Rates of infant mortality fell and this saw people raising larger families. The reasons for this may have included the fact that most people had adequate food to eat. Also, the Bubonic Plague seems to have burnt itself out in Europe during the 17th century.  More
There was no more mass starvation in England after the 17th century.
Much more food was being grown. Poor harvests no longer led to thousands of people dying for lack of food. This in itself led to a fall in mortality rates. More
Medical advances such as vaccination for smallpox occurred
This was a period of medical advances.
The era saw new knowledge of diseases and new methods in surgery. People such as Edward Jenner were pushing back the boundaries of medical knowledge - in his case, tackling one of the great killer diseases, smallpox. More
In Georgian times most doctors still used the old methods
The main impact of these new medical developments, however, lay in the future.
In Georgian times most doctors still used the old methods such as blood-letting, leeches and purges (powerful laxatives) on the sick. More
Some new medicines could also cause severe problems.
Laudanum, for example, which became popular as a medicine in Georgian times, is another name for opium. More
In Georgian times, the modern profession of doctors emerged
In Georgian times, the modern profession of doctors emerged.
Schools of medicine were founded and doctors began to become trained professionals. These changes laid the foundations for the profession to make great advances in its practices - though these mostly did not take place until Victorian times.  More
Midwives and nurses were not trained.
They were normally local women who had developed a specialist medical knowledge. Their knowledge was based on traditional lines, even "old wives' tales". More
Many people's health was badly affected by dreadful working conditions and long hours.
Most children over seven years old were expected to work. Child labour was cheap and, in the early phases of the Industrial Revolution, many children were forced to work in terrible conditions. The long-term effects on their health would have been considerable. More
Most rich people rode and sporting accidents were common
Health risks for the upper classes came from over-eating and often sporting accidents
The huge meals that they ate put them at risk of such ailments as heart disease and diabetes.  More
People, rich and poor, lived in damp and draughty houses, causing much ill-health.
This was of course true for labourers' cottages, but it was perhaps even more the case with the great stately homes.  More
London and other large cities were terribly unhealthy places.
London's massive increase in population was entirely due to people moving in from elsewhere. There were more deaths than births in London each year throughout this entire period. As the Georgian period drew to its end, London became smellier and smellier, and more and more dangerous. More
New industrial towns appeared from the late 18th century onwards; they were over-crowded, dirty, damp and deeply unhygienic.
They grew very rapidly, with rows and rows of slums, and completely overwhelmed the ability of the local parishes (designed to serve the needs of villages) to cope with the new demands they put on the environment. More
Taking the water at spa towns was popular but could be dangerous
Even towns famous for their health-giving qualities were dangerous places.
It was fashionable to visit the spa towns and take the waters. There were a range of other treatments but most of these were not based on medical science and many posed more risk to health. More
There was an epidemic of alcohol-related problems.
There was an epidemic of alcohol-related problems.
Gin was first imported from the Netherlands in the 1690s; by the mid 1700's consumption was very high. High consumption of port and fortified wines also led to the characteristic rich Georgian's disease of gout.  More
Most people were fairly active
Most people were fairly active.
With the exception of the very rich, people walked further than we do today. Riding was also common. It was inconceivable that any Regency gentleman (or lady) would be unable to ride, unless infirm.  More
A link between food and health was made when it was proved citrus fruit could prevent scurvy
In 1747, James Lind conducted the first ever clinical trial and proved that citrus fruits cured scurvy.
The vitamin C added to their diet by lemons and oranges greatly improved the health of sailors on long voyages.  More
The Georgians did not have very good personal hygiene.
People started to wash more often by the Regency period. By this time cotton had also become a popular fabric, as it washed more easily than others. However, for most of the period, both rich and poor were much smellier than today, many had rotting teeth and unsanitary habits. More
It was easier for the rich, with servants, to keep clean
It was easier for the rich to keep clean than the poor.
There was no piped water in most places. The poor collected water from wells or small external water tanks and the rich had large water tanks in their basements. Even in rich houses, the laundry was usually the only room with a direct water supply. Servants did the laundry. There was a strict weekly routine for washing clothes. More

Plum Sauce
Chop the plums into small pieces, removing any stalks or stones Put the plums and sugar into the...