Horrible Health in Victorian Warwick

Guests who came to the June edition of ‘In The Ballroom’ at the Court House, watched a dramatisation of a meeting of the Warwick Board of Public Health in the mid 19th century. 

Health Boards had been established in 1849 by Act of Parliament, to oversee the introduction of clean water supplies and proper drainage – to combat the cholera outbreaks that were killing so many people in the towns and cities.  Warwick was no exception, with scores of people dying from cholera and smallpox. 

The re-enactment was based on authentic accounts of the Health Board meetings found in the County Record Office. These gave a shocking account of drinking water badly polluted by sewage, and cess-pits and open drains making Warwick stink in the summer months!

The dramatisation was performed by the Unlocking Warwick volunteers, and was followed by the usual tea, coffee and cake, and Helen’s picture-quiz which this month was all about the history of medicine and health care. Here’s a selection of pictures.

In The Ballroom is the Town Council’s welcoming social for local people, held every month at 2pm on the second Wednesday of the month at the old Court House in Jury Street. It costs just £2 per person. There’s no need to book. Just turn up and enjoy the talk or presentation, the tea, the quiz, and the company. 

The next ‘In The Ballroom’ will be on Wednesday 14th August and will be a mini Antiques Road Show with auctioneer Steve Bruce. (If you have a small item you would like him to look at, bring it along).