Wednesday, 11 January 2012

TNA podcast: Anxiety, dread and disease: British ports 1834-1870

I blogged in mid-November about this presentation by Sarah Hutton which I was able to attend at Kew. It's worth listening to even without the visuals, although there should probably be a warning about the graphic description of urban conditions in the mid 19th century.

"As Britain's status as the 'workshop of the world' grew, so did the new industrial and trading towns. Ports became densely populated and ripe for the spread of infection; once disease took hold it moved rapidly and lethally. Yet what made these ports so particularly vulnerable, in addition to the threat from within, was their high exposure to threats from abroad. While obviously of huge economic importance, a section of the 'inside' port town community undoubtedly perceived seafarers as 'outside', 'foreign' and a medical threat. The daily interplay between these settled and transient communities created an environment imbued with anxieties as to the nature of disease, its transmission and its treatment. Sarah Hutton is a modern domestic records specialist at The National Archives, where she has worked for five years. She is particularly interested in 19th and early 20th century health. This talk was part of our diversity week event in November, highlighting the diversity of The National Archives' collection."
Listen from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/

1 comment:

J said...

thanks for this information. Relevant perhaps to present day discussion about turning Kitimat BC into a deep water port for oil tankers to create a direct link to China and back. is it really wise for the sensitive human populations in Kitimat to introduce transient populations and crowds that come with a big port? better to use a city that already can accommodate crowds, like Vancouver?