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Title: Cleanliness : idea and practice in Britain, 1770-1850.
Author: Smith, Virginia
ISNI:       0000 0001 3468 1447
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1985
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The thesis examines historical attitixles to cleanliness: why people wanted to be 'clean'; and hz far they may have been so, in Britain between c.1650-1850, and in detail between 1770-1850. The social and nedical attitues of different groups were reconstrtxted fran the popular nedical advice books known as 'regimens'; these were further divided into two eighteenth and nineteenth century sanpies and contextually analysed according to the different uses of the words 'clean', and ''. It was found that there were three hygienic 'cleansing therapies' associated with the action of 'cool' foods, water, and air; and it is argued that between the seventeenth and eighteen centuries these therapies developed f ran an idealistic 'noral physiology' into applied sciences. By the end of the eighteenth century the mixed diet, fresh air, and warm cosnetic bathing, were the axians of individual, preventive, nedical hygiene. Direct references to cleanliness were set within a rroral philosophy of religious and social virtues connected with 'civility'; healthy civility praited an eighteenth century edtxational novaient which proposed the reformation of public 'manners and habits' according to hygienic principles. The changing scientific interpretations of hygiene , and its application to social and state policies is illustrated hy the chronological caiparison between the two sanpies. It is argued that the increased 'reportage' of health affairs in the nineteenth century re-confirned indigenous traditions within the genre, and at the sane tine strengthened the professional appropriation of 'rational physiology' - and its orientation towards public health. Thischror1ogica1 franwork is to a certain extent xnfirmed by the therapeutic and econczuic history of public bathing facilities, culminating in one of the earliest pieces of nineteenth century sanitary legislation, the Public Baths and Washhouses t of 1846. The thesis anclx1es with a discussion of the functional and cultural findings nost relevant to denographic history and to the history of nedicine.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History