• Richard

My sort of 'Hygiene Education'!

Visiting the Science Museum in central London after a long gap, I made the 'pilgrimage' downstairs to the basement, passing by quite quickly all the spacecraft and rockets, to get to see whether the toilets were still on display.

Pleased to find that they were still there, in the midst of an area loved by children (buttons to press.....) about how we once lived.

Going to explore further 'above ground' as it were I found a mezzanine area I had never visited before with 'models' which among all sorts of different types I found 'Earthenware hygiene models, 1896' which the label adjacent to the photo below explained were made specifically to meet teaching and examination requirements in public health. The label goes on to explain "In the second half of the nineteenth century, public health activity concentrated on sanitation, which became synonymous with the installation of fresh water supplies and sewerage systems. Over a quarter of British local authority areas in 1879 had no running water."

And then, intriguingly, the label advised 'this subject is discussed in the display on the industrial town on the other side of this gallery.' So off I went in search of new things, all hiding in plain sight of course, if only one knows where to start looking .. or waiting on serendipity.

There to find the most fascinating "Hygiene Lecture Cabinet, 1895, 'this cabinet contains three layers of miniature drainage and sewerage fittings, sanitary appliances and ventilation equipment, both 'correct' and 'incorrect'. These [cabinets] were sold as teaching aids for the courses in hygiene to educate the new generation of public health professionals."


1895 ! Wouldn't it be fascinating to have an aid like this when starting up Information, Education and Communication campaigns for new sewerage systems - thinking particularly of Lusaka Water's work in Mtendere as they strive to complete the $360m Lusaka water and sewerage project.


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