Skip to main content

How to carry out your own research

Here are some tips in case you would like to begin investigating the history of public health in your area.

A great place to start is with the records of the local authority in your area.  These will be held by the local record office.  Details should be on the website of your local council.  You can also find contact details, opening hours and catalogue information for all holders of archival material at the ARCHON Directory, held by the National Archives.

It is likely that Acts of Parliament will have been obtained in order to carry out improvement works in your town.  You can find these by searching  Portcullis, the Parliamentary Archives catalogue.  Acts would have been required for a range of improvements including paving, lighting, gas, water and electricity supply.  If the bill was opposed, then it would have been considered by an Opposed Bill Committee, who would have taken evidence about the situation in your town.  This evidence is full of information and detail about what living conditions were like.  As was the case in Sunderland, many opposed bills never became Acts but evidence for these bills still survives.