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Public Health

YOU ARE IN: Human History; Glasgow History; Glasgow Health Public Health

Glasgow Museums has a collection of approximately 750 objects related to Glasgow's public health which date from between 1859 and 1996.

This collection includes photographs, prints and drawings, ceramics, water samples, geological and chemical samples, furniture, drinking fountains, metal housing tickets, posters, badges, leaflets, a model lodging house, a urinal and a silver handle from the opening of the Loch Katrine reservoir in 1859. A large part of this collection relates to the provision of clean and safe water and attempts to solve and control overcrowding and related problems in the city in the mid-to-late 1800s. Other material relates the Glasgow Corporation mass X-ray campaign to screen for tuberculosis in 1957; the 'Drinkwise' campaign led by the Health Education Board for Scotland in 1996; and 'Glasgow 2000', the campaign to make Glasgow a no-smoking city by the year 2000.

From the mid-19th century until the creation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948 the issue of public health was largely the responsibility of Glasgow local government. Appalling living conditions and poor life expectancy in Glasgow, particularly after epidemics of infectious diseases in the first half of the 19th century, led to much needed initiatives to improve public health. These initiatives were to gain the city its well-deserved reputation for innovation.