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Archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health, North Western Branch

Date range: 1875–1981.

The North West region has played a significant role in the development of public health in England.

The North Western Association of Medical Officers of Health was the first such provincial association to be founded, in 1875. It served as a forum for Medical Officers of Health to debate public health issues, discussing individual cases and for debating many topics relating to public, such as the spread of infectious diseases, the dangers of noxious vapours, inspection of schools and regulation of dairies. 

The Association submitted reports, memorials and petitions to the Local Government Board, the House of Commons and the British Medical Association, and promoted public health issues in the local and national press.

In 1888 the Society of Medical Officers of Health amalgamated with the North Western Association and two other provincial groups to form a national society, the Association becoming the Society’s North Western Branch.

Membership of the Branch declined in the 1970s, with the abolition of Medical Officers of Health. The Manchester Medical Society formed a Section of Community Medicine in 1976, and most remaining members of the Branch transferred to the new Section.

The Archive consists largely of minutes (covering most of the Society’s existence), statements of accounts, some membership records and correspondence files.

The early minute books are a useful source for information about the provincial development of the Society of Medical Officers of Health and activities of medical officers.

Later minutes and correspondence give a detailed picture of the changes to the Society in the 1970s.

See also

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


Main Library

Using the reading room in the Main Library