Doctors, Dentists and Deaths by Barrie Keech
This small book looks at the history of health in West Sussex as part of the West Sussex Heritage series. The author has no expertise in the subject area, he admits he had little enthusiasm initially for the project and he also acknowledges that he is not an experienced writer. However from this less than ideal start he has produced an interesting and informative account of the changes in medical practises in the last century and reminds us that not so long ago life was far more precarious - for example Keech tells us how Petworth had a poor supply of water; residents could collect water from public taps, two of which supplied good quality water but limited in quantity whilst the remainder supplied water which came from the nearby river Rother - collected about half a mile below the spot where the town's sewage went into the river! Not surprisingly Petworth had a higher rate of deaths than the rest of West Sussex.
This is a very readable account looking at the background to health issues in West Sussex, the work done by Dr Kelly, attitudes and treatment of mental illness, the devastating effect of epidemics and the introduction of vaccinations. If you have ancestors in this area this book can provide some useful background information, if you don't have ancestors here it is still an eye opening account of the history of health.
Copies can be purchased from the West Sussex Record Office