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28 October 2014
Legacies - Wiltshire

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Hospital staff
© STEAM - Museum of the GWR, Swindon
A model for the NHS?

In 1840, the decision of Isambard Kingdon Brunel to base the Great Western Railway Locomotive Repair Facility in Swindon led to rapid population growth and the establishment of a town. Concomitant with this expansion was disease and a high rate of accidents amongst employees of the company. The result was that 10 years after the Great Western Railway (GWR) factory had opened, the life expectancy of the town’s inhabitants dropped to 29 years. In response to the poor health of its employers, an offshoot to the GWR company developed a form of healthcare which anticipated the National Health service by more than a century. More...

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STEAM, Museum of the Great Western Railway
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Isambard Kingdom Brunel
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