The building pathology of early modern London

Cornish, Stephen Michael (2015) The building pathology of early modern London. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis is an exploratory study into enteric complaints and respiratory ailments in early modern London between 1500 and 1720. These two diseases are closely associated with urban environments, especially domestic housing, and they killed significant numbers during the study period. Unlike the plague, these diseases were comparatively stable from year to year and this thesis argues that this was largely related to constant exposure to defective buildings. While research into the relationship between housing and health is problematic, mainly because the inadequacy of housing is invariably associated with other hardships, such as poor nutrition and hygiene, this thesis aims to overcome this obstacle by applying new tools borrowed from the modern discipline of building pathology. This offers a contextual definition of a building defect and identifies the fundamental requirements of healthful housing. Building pathology also draws attention to the interaction of the external environment with buildings; the climate of the study period imposed extreme demands on vulnerable buildings and their services. Although there were variations in the quality of buildings occupied by different sectors of the population, the demands of the climate were largely exogenous to economy and society. Applying building pathology analysis to early modern London identifies conditions that were conducive to the spread of enteric and respiratory diseases amongst the wealthy as well as the poor. The final part of the thesis considers the social epidemiology of enteric and respiratory diseases, that is locating them within communities, spatially and residentially defined and questions whether the study of economic or social groups in the context of these two specific diseases helps or hinders epidemiology.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > History, Classics & Archaeology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2015 13:46
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2015 11:36
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/131

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