Disease and Dirt: Public Health in Dublin, 1903-1917

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Smallpox HospitalView Disease and Dirt Image Gallery

Dublin was one of the most depressed cities in Europe at the turn of the century. Declining industry, overcrowding, unemployment, and poor housing created a cauldron of poverty for many Dubliners. The connection between poverty and disease had been formally recognised in the nineteenth century. These rarely seen images from Dublin Corporation’s Reports Upon The State Of Public Health In The City Of Dublin show some of the measures taken by Dublin’s civic authority to curb the spread of infectious diseases. We hope that it may be of interest to anyone researching the social history of Dublin in the early twentieth century.

Further Resources

Dublin City Public Libraries has a wide range of sources on the social, political, and cultural history of Dublin, some of which are available online and some through the Dublin City Public Libraries network.
The Reading Room, Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street holds a wealth of material on the history of Dublin, including books, pamphlets, journals, street directories, and almanacs.

The following online resources can be accessed free of charge at your local library (access links via our NetVibes portal). Ask library staff for information and assistance.

  • Libraries and Archives Digital Repository: Digital records relating to Dublin, including photographs, postcards, letters, maps and ephemeral material. Highlights of the collection include the Fáilte Ireland Photographic Collection, Wide Street Commission Map Collection (1757-1851), the Irish Theatre Archive and the Birth of the Republic Collection, which comprises material from the period of the foundation of the Irish state.
  • Irish Times Digital Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Times from the mid-nineteenth century until the present.
  • Irish Newspaper Archive: This online archive service gives access to contemporary editions of the Irish Independent and a range of other newspapers.
  • The Ireland-JSTOR Collection: This online archive of academic articles can also be accessed free of charge at your local library.

For further reading, consult the Library Catalogue.

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