Report by Dr Henry Yeld

Report by Dr Henry Yeld
  • Title: Report by Dr Henry Yeld to Health Committee

  • Date : 24 December 1879

  • Catalogue number : Tyne and Wear Archives CB.SU/51/5 p.390

  • Description :

    One of the biggest problems that Yeld and others trying to improve public health faced was the people often did not behave as they would have hoped. 

    This image shows a report by Yeld of an incident that occurred during December 1879, when two deaths from typhoid fever occurred.  In both cases the friends of the deceased were permitted to remove the bodies from the infirmary and take them to their own homes where they were kept for two or three days with the coffin lids off so that visitors could enter the houses and view the bodies.

    Yeld remarked,
       ‘It is difficult to conceive a practice more objectionable than this, or one    
        more likely to impress the public with the idea that due regard to the
        interest of the Public Health has not been exercised.’ 

    You can view a full transcript of Yeld’s report by clicking on ‘Transcript’, above.

  • Transcript:

    The following Report was read from Dr Yeld respecting deaths from Typhoid Fever at Infirmery, and as to practise of removing bodies from there by friends, viz:-

    To the Chairman and Members of the Health Committee

    Gentlemen,
    During the present Month two deaths from Typhoid Fever occurred in the Infirmary, and I found upon enquiry, that in both instances the friends of the deceased were allowed to remove the bodies from the Infirmary to their own homes where they were kept for two or three days, the coffin lids being taken off, and visitors being allowed to enter the houses and view the bodies.  It is difficult to conceive a practice more objectionable than this, or one more likely to impress the public with the idea that due regard to the interest of the Public Health has not been exercised.  In all cases of death from infectious diseases in the Corporation Hospital and similarly in the Infirmary when I was House Surgeon, the funeral took place from the Institution.  I waited upon the House Committee of the Infirmary last week, and brought the subject under their consideration and they promised that it should receive their careful attention.

    I remain
    Your Obedient Servant
    (signed) Henry J Yeld