Sir Alfred Hill, Birmingham’s Public Health Pioneer

Sir Alfred Hill

Birmingham’s first Medical Officer of Health 1866-1903

You can read about other Medical Officers of Health here

Until he retired in 1903,he threw his energies into improving the health of the City. By dint of will and effort,working with Chamberlain and as President of the Society of Public Analysts he wrought changes to sanitation,housing,food purity and living conditions which we still enjoy the legacy of today. He was obsessed with improving housing, food quality, sewage and the quality of health and life of the poorest in Biringham. He became President of the Society of Public Analysts and Society of Medical Officers of Health. He was a major pioneer in the destruction of tens of thousands of slum dwellings in Birmingham and their rebuilding. An unsung figure without whose work and dedication Birmingham would not be Birmingham.

 Hill surveyed the health of the City every year,and set about addressing what he saw as key problems. If he returned today,I think there are a number of things he would want to tell us. Several of them might well begin with “why on earth did you…?” But he would give us insights that would be important to the health of our City. Hill knew that living conditions were key to health,and in his own language expressed that being able to have good quality of life,education,housing and purpose were all important to good health. His arguments about public parks and housing are still revelant today.

2011 is the 14th anniversary of his appointment.  We intend to hold some events to help us look at priorities. 2016 is his 150th anniversary. We hope we can celebrate it with you.

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