The what, why and how of health and development

Poverty and ill-health: Booth’s East London strikingly similar to modern day

If I take a moment and cast my mind back one year ago, I can see myself in the desperate last throws of my dissertation, pulling together fiddly footnotes and trying to round off my oddly formed arguments. I was at the end of a long 9 months spent looking at the relationship between social reform and religious experience in the late nineteenth-century. The last chapter in particular was a toughy – a study of Charles Booth’s  Religious Influences, the lesser known chapters of his (well-known) survey of London’s poor in the 1890-1990s.

Back to the present day and looked who popped onto my news feed – Mr Charles Booth again. Apparently researchers at Queen Mary Uni (where I studied for and submitted my dissertation) have found similar results of a study of East London’s modern day residents as those of Booth’s survey.

Ill-health, poverty, over-crowding: will East London’s luck ever change? Researchers analysing the results found that the areas associated with poverty and ill-health in the new study were the same areas highlighted in Booth’s late nineteenth century social mapping.

However, the health of us East Londoners has moved on in at least one respect. Instead of nineteenth-century ‘immoral poor’ and high cholera levels, it’s diabetes that’s striking fear in NHS doctors in Tower Hamlets.

About 10% of the adult population are categorised as at a high-risk of developing diabetes, it was reported by the BBC.

Interesting stuff eh? Nice to see Queen Mary in the news as well…
Read the original report here


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