Letters to John Hill Burton from Sir Edwin Chadwick

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Papers of Sir Edwin Chadwick, 1840-1851 and 1954, comprise copies of letters from Chadwick to John Hill Burton on public health matters, 1840-1851, and correspondence between the School, Chadwick Trust and Professor Finer on the copying of these letters, 1954.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Hill Burton, Historiographist Royal for Scotland, and author of the 'The Book hunter' was born in Aberdeen in 1809 and died in Edinburgh in 1881. He was an Advocate by profession, and as a young man compiled various legal works and was associated with various movements, not only law reform but also political economy and public health. Later his aptitude led him along literary and historical lines. Edinburgh at this period was the centre of intellectual activity and Burton Hill became an intimate friend of many of the notabilities of the day. Burton kept the greater part of the correspondence addressed to him, many of these letters are from people of much eminence. At his death in 1881 all this correspondence and his other papers were placed in a box together for custody. In 1903 his two sons having died, these documents were handed over to the eldest grandson. In 1840 Burton Hill was engaged in correspondence with Edwin Chadwick on matters connected with public health, the early letters refer such nuisances as town refuse entering streams, the employment of children in factories and the general betterment of the working classes. Edwin Chadwick was in touch with Hill Burton because he was anxious to introduce reforms as far as possible in Scotland almost concurrently in England. Many of the reforms to be introduced were beset with legal difficulties and consequently it was essential that a lawyer should have a hand in compiling the proposed legislation to remedy the defects. This explains the association of John Hill Burton with Sir Edwin Chadwick and the movement for the improvement of the health of the people.

Arrangement

Arranged as in scope and content.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for consultation. Please contact the Archivist to arrange an appointment. All researchers must complete and sign a user registration form which signifies their agreement to abide by the archive rules. All researchers are required to provide proof of identity bearing your signature (for example, a passport or debit card) when registering. Please see website for further information at www.lshtm.ac.uk/library/archives

Acquisition Information

See archival history.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available online.

Archivist's Note

Sources: AIM25 entry for Chadwick Papers (GB 0103 CHADWICK) and Oxford National Biographic Dictionary online. Edited by Samantha Velumyl, AIM25 cataloguer.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Custodial History

Burton kept the greater part of the correspondence addressed to him, many of these letters are from people of much eminence. At his death in 1881 all this correspondence and his other papers were placed in a box together for safe custody. In 1903 his two sons having died, these documents were handed over to the eldest grandson.

In 1840 Burton Hill was engaged in correspondence with Edwin Chadwick on matters connected with public health, the early letters refer such nuisances as town refuse entering streams, the employment of children in factories and the general betterment of the working classes. Edwin Chadwick was in touch with Hill Burton because he was anxious to introduce reforms as far as possible in Scotland almost concurrently in England. Many of the reforms to be introduced required legal advice, explaining the association of John Hill Burton with Chadwick.

Original letters belong to one of Hill Burton's descendants, Professor Cleland of Adelaide, South Australia. They were temporarily in the UK in 1954, Sir Allen Daley handed them to Mr Butler, the Secretary of the Chadwick Trust. They were then copied and typed up by the School. A further copy was send to Professor Finer, University College of North Staffordshire. One letter mentions that some of the letters have previously been published.

Related Material

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also holds photographs of Chadiwck (Staff & Students/07/02/68).