[PUBLIC HEALTH]. Sixth Annual Report of the Government Board 1876-77. London: For Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1878.

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Sixth Annual Report of the Government Board 1876-77. Supplement Containing the Report of the Medical Officer For 1876. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.
London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode, printers to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty. For Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1878.

8vo (244 × 154 mm), pp.322 (3 folding), 3 folding maps, 2 plans, 25 plates (14 folding), numerous diagrams within the text, 9 mounted Woodburytype photographs, pages partially unopened; contents occasionaly cockled, top edge a little dusty, light spotting to edges. Publisher’s original blue printed wrappers; light wear to edges, shallow crease to one corner, cockled, spine lightly soiled and split but holding firm, wear to head and foot. An excellent copy in the original wrappers, rare thus as given their nature, official reports such as these were usually bound.

First edition. This government report is primarily of interest because it contains the first publication of Dr. Edward Ballard’s ‘Report in Respect of the Inquiry as to Effluvium-Nuisances Arising in Connexion with Various Manufacturing and Other Branches of Industry’ (pp.111-284), which he had begun in 1875.

Edward Ballard (1820 – 1897) was an English physician, best known for his reports on the unsanitary conditions in which most of Victorian England lived. In 1871 he took the position of medical inspector, under John Simon, in the Medical Department of the Privy Council, whose functions were later assimilated into the the Local Government Board.

For the purposes of his inquiry Ballard arranged the offensive businesses under three headings: the keeping of animals; the slaughtering of animals; industries in which animal, vegetable, and mineral substances respectively are principally dealt with. Of the nine photographs included in this report, four show Henry Turney’s Works, a leather manufacturer in Stourbridge, and five were taken at Freeman Wright’s Works, a glue manufacturer in Needham Market, Suffolk. Ballard explains that of the many locations that he visited, he chose to illustrate these two as they provided model examples of how a well-run establishment looked at the time of his visit.

‘The important inquiry into effluvium nuisances in which the Local Government Board has been engaged for the last five years is at length completed. Dr. Ballard’s Report is now before the public, and they will wait, perhaps with interest, to see what steps the new Government will take to give effect to its conclusions...

The health of a whole district suffers because the manufacturers engaged in a certain trade will not forego the extra profit derived from using an offensive process instead of an inoffensive one. It might be thought that in a matter where the many are pitted against the few, the many would necessarily win. As a matter of fact, it is almost always the few who win, and who in a sense deserve to win. The authors of the nuisance show real energy in defending their right to produce it. The victims of the nuisance hardly seem to notice that they suffer under it. Indeed, this indifference is one of the surest signs of the injury that has been done them. They have become so acclimatized to breath poisonous gases that no immediate ill result follows, and consequently no strong desire is felt to get rid of them. The process by which the mischief is done is usually a slow one. Sometimes it takes a generation to make its effects clearly visible...

National health is slowly coming to be recognized as an important element in national prosperity. That the community is bound to protect its members against avoidable discomfort as well as against avoidable disease is as yet hardly an accepted proposition’ (‘Nuisances and Legislation’, 1880, Saturday review of politics, literature, science and art, vol. 49, no. 1278, pp. 528-529).

The Woodburytype was invented by Walter Bentley Woodbury (British, 1834–1885) in 1864 with working details published in 1865. Joseph Wilson Swan (British, 1828–1914) developed a virtually identical process at the same time, however it was Woodbury who advanced his ideas into a fully workable and practical method of photomechanical printing of continuous-tone photographs. However, when attempts were made to adopt Woodburytypes to rotary printing, the process could not compete with the quickly developing collotype and halftone photomechanical processes that had almost completely replaced Woodburytype by the end of the nineteenth century.

In 1891 Eyre and Spottiswoode who printed the present report, acquired the Woodbury Permanent Photographic Co. Ltd., successors to the Photo Relief Company, who had bought the rights to the Woodburytype process in 1865.

No copies of this first printing in OCLC or Copac, several copies of the 1882 reprint found.

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