Talk gives insight into the history of health

North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre
North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre

Public health in the former burghs of Motherwell and Wishaw is the focus of a talk at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre tomorrow (Thursday).

Titled ‘The Pox, the Flu and the Measles’ the free talk will be given by the centre’s local studies officer Margaret McGarry at 2pm in the conference room.

Margaret will give an insight into how Scotland was affected by plague and disease from medieval times to the early twentieth century, with special attention given to outbreaks of smallpox in 1873 and 1874, which claimed the lives of more than a dozen people.

School log books, council minutes and newspapers will be used alongside anecdotal evidence to provide a glimpse into living with the presence of disease, before the advent of modern medicine.

Margaret said: “I will be highlighting the public health issues that affected the citizens of Motherwell and Wishaw, as the towns expanded rapidly during the industrial boom years.

“In the rush to build new factories, railways and housing, the requirements for adequate public health became increasingly important.

“I’ll look at how cholera epidemics in the 1830s and 1850s became a catalyst for change in public health, and at subsequent measures taken to control the smallpox outbreaks of the 1870s.”

Booking is not required for the talk, but places can be reserved by calling the centre on 01698 274590.