Daily Life in Victorian England

By Sally Mitchell | Go to book overview
Save to active project

9
Health and Medicine

GENERAL HEALTH

Life expectancy was much shorter in the nineteenth century than it is today. In England, rural people lived longer than city dwellers, and members of the upper classes were healthier than workers. Unlike many aspects of daily life, medical care made no dramatic advance during the century. Nutrition was poorly understood, and physicians had very few effective ways to treat illness. Epidemic diseases swept through crowded cities. Although the bacteria that caused some of them were identified by the century's end, it would be another forty years before cures were found.

Most people depended on traditional remedies, herbal medicine, homemade prescriptions, and the health advice passed along by household manuals and elderly women. Even in an aristocrat's country house, there was apt to be a servant--perhaps a laundress or one of the kitchen staff--whose medical knowledge was helpful not only for the other servants but also for members of the family. She made poultices for injuries and sore muscles, lanced boils, put herbs in boiling water to soothe coughs and croup. Her observation, experience, traditional herbal knowledge, and authoritative assurance were as useful as most therapies available to doctors.

Some people suspected that plentiful energy and a hearty appetite were not "ladylike," as women and older girls were expected to be delicate. It was widely assumed that members of the upper class could not digest the coarse food that working people ate. Furthermore, people in

-189-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Daily Life in Victorian England
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 320

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?