A Local Epidemic Lockdown-19th Century Version

WhereGreat Broughton Village HallType of EventTalk
WhenMonday 21st November 2022 TutorArline Ashton

The lecture was well attended.  The lecturer was enthusiastic and in command of the material.

This was a story of the smallpox epidemic which swept Middlesbrough in 1897and lasted until 1898.  The epidemic, which began on 22nd November 1897, took the authorities by surprise and they had to react quickly with strategies to control it.  The main strategy seemed to be isolation.  A range of hospitals were used and developed ranging from a granary, and through ships, building a purpose built floating hospital, taking over the sanatorium and building other structures.  The situation needed more capacity and more nurses.  In addition, there was a vigorous vaccination campaign which was accepted by some, but there was opposition from others.  Despite all the efforts there appears to have some measure of disobedience with some flouting of the rules.  Some did not wish to be isolated and wanted to socialise with other people.  There seemed to be a ring of familiarity about this state of affairs.  There was, of course, an effect on life beyond the medical.  Work, trade and tourism were all affected.

The lecture was interesting and delivered with a lightness of touch.  Despite the seriousness of the subject matter there was some irony and humour on display.

The audience was attentive and asked questions both immediately after the lecture and later in the evening.

A pleasant and informative evening.

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