In March 1840, the government were so concerned about sanitation and living conditions that they set up a Parliamentary Health Select Committee to report on the the health of towns. The findings revealed the scale of overcrowding, and the descriptions from health specialists drew a vivid picture of the extreme filth and disease that resulted in widespread death. Dr William Duncan in Liverpool and James Riddel-Wood discuss the cholera epidemic and miasma (stench) in Manchester. Further discussion is also held about similar conditions in Leeds and Glasgow.
The clip could be used to introduce the role of the government in public health and the role of the Parliamentary Committees of Enquiry. It could be used as an initial stimulus question: 'What should the government do?' or a debate between labourers and landlords to see who is to blame for public health issues.