Housing and Health in Early Modern London

  • Vanessa Harding


The relationship between housing and health in early modern London is not easy to distinguish from the general relationship between wealth or poverty and health. Poor housing was only one of many disadvantages potentially compromising the health of the urban poor: it can be assumed that they had poorer diets, less adequate clothing, less access to clean water for cooking and washing, less access to medical treatment, and probably greater exposure to workplace dangers, than their richer contemporaries, even before we begin to look at their accommodation. And ‘poor housing’ itself has many facets, both physical and use-related: disadvantageous location, exposure to industrial and other pollution, quality of building materials, adequacy of repair, sanitation and water supply, heating and ventilation, furnishing, neighbourhood character, density and character of occupation. Nevertheless, there appears to be some correspondence between poorer areas of London and poor health outcomes; this paper seeks to explore some of the correlations and variables in that relationship.


Seventeenth Century Housing Quality Spotted Fever Oxford English Dictionary Outer Suburb 
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© Vanessa Harding 2012

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  • Vanessa Harding

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