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New dataset: London Pulse: Medical Officer of Health Reports, 1848-1972


They contain personal accounts by the Medical Officers and statistical data in the form of graphs, tables and charts, offering a rich source of material for public health research.



By Phoebe Harkins, Wellcome Library (Wellcome Trust), Nov 7, 2013.

We are pleased to announce the launch of

London Pulse: Medical Officer of HealthLondon Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972, a free online resource for the history of public health. This new website brings together more than 5500 annual reports covering the City of London, 32 present-day London boroughs and their predecessors.

What's in the reports?
The Medical Officer of Health (MOH) reports contain personal accounts by the Medical Officers and statistical data in the form of graphs, tables and charts. Covering a wide range of topics from birth rates to causes of death, the reports offer a rich source of material for public health research. They also cover varying aspects of London life: housing, food hygiene, health services, local trades and industries, to name a few.

The London MOH reports are one of the Wellcome Library's most-used print collections, so we are especially pleased to be able to make them available online for a worldwide audience.

Along with the ability to easily compare infectious diseases and mortality rates across several years, the website also offers the ability download and copy all of the data in a variety of formats: HTML, XML, CSV and plain text. And we've included some short articles about the changing historical contexts and the professional role of the Medical Officers of Health.

We had had several great partners throughout the development of London's Pulse. The project was part-funded by Jisc through its Mass Digitisation programme. London Metropolitan Archives helped fill the gaps in the Wellcome Library collections so we could present a more comprehensive set of reports. And we could not have made these reports available online without the kind permission of the local authorities of Greater London.

Have a look around the website and let us know how you get on - here's a short film to introduce the project



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