Acute Disease:
In contradistinction from chronic disease: when a disease comes on rapidly and produces death rapidly or goes on to speedy recovery.

Concerned with accountants or officials in insurance companies, whose duty it is to compile statistical tables of mortality and thus estimate the necessary rate for premiums. This takes into account the combined effect of interest and probability: with losses due to duration of human life, fire, accident averages etc.

Ague: see Malaria


Alzheimer's Disease:
Degenerative disorder of the cerebral cortex producing dementia, primarily in mid to late life. Its onset is often slow, as long as 10 to 15 years, but sometimes as little as five years. It starts with symptoms of forgetfulness and an inability to learn, developing eventually into what has been called 'massive dilapidation of the personality', and culminating in profound dementia: including loss of motor functions, language and memory. The disease is irreversible and is terminal. The younger the onset of the disease, the more rapid its course. The cause is as yet uncertain, though there is a hereditary element (50% of offspring born of a parent with the disease go on to develop dementia), and there have also been links to a build up of aluminium in the brain and a previous serious head injury. Only recently distinguished from general senile dementia, Alzheimer's disease is a major concern causing 50-70% of senile dementia cases.

Enlargement or dilation of the heart, a tumour filled with blood, from the rupture, wound, ulceration or dilation of an artery.

Disease of cattle and sheep, transferable to man. Characterized by dark red or purple tumours, followed by an often fatal fever.

Any antibacterial agent derived from micro-organisms, such as penicillin.

Sudden arrest of sense and motion, due to cerebral haemorrhage or to pressure on or blockage in the blood vessels in the brain.

Arbitration and conciliation boards
Arbitration is the use of an independent body to give a ruling on a dispute that cannot be settled by the parties involved but it can only be brought into play if agreed by both sides. Conciliation involves the use of a third party to see if a deadlock concerning an industrial dispute can be broken.

Around the stone
Workplace meetings were conducted near the vicinity of a flat slab of stone on which images were drawn as part of lithographic printing process.

Chronic genetic disease of the respiratory system, characterized by periods of relief with recurrence of attacks at regular intervals. Difficulty of breathing with a sensation of constriction of the chest, due to contraction of the smaller bronchial tubes. Caused by an allergic reaction to a number of factors, including pollens, diet, animal hair and bacteria.

Autocorrelation,or serial correlation:
a statistical property of time series data which exhibits a systematic relationship between consecutive observations such that datum observed at a specific point in time is related to earlier observations in the series. This does not suggest, history students will be relieved to know, merely that past events influence those which follow; rather, autocorrelation is the technical term used to describes the residuals (or error terms) estimated by regression analysis of time series data which exhibit systematic oscillations. Originally seen as problem by many econometricians, because it violated one of the assumptions of the BLUE, recently the existence of autocorrelation has been seen more positively as an indicator of the nature of the economic system under investigation.


micro-organism causing diseases which can be treated by antibiotics.

Diseases which show no malignant action.

BLUE: Best Linear Unbiased Estimator; in regression analysis BLUE provides the optimal line of fit.

Bright's Disease:
Generic term for acute and chronic disease of the kidney, frequently associated with dropsy, and with coagulation of urine. See nephritis.

Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchial tubes, the first two branches of the trachea or windpipe. Known internationally as the 'English Disease' it is more common in Great Britain than any other country, probably due to the combination of a damp climate and a high level of industrialization and subsequent pollutants. Consequently one of the most common causes of death in Britain. It often develops following exposure to cold, or as a result of inhaling dust or vapours, in either case producing infection by catarrh producing organisms. Can be either acute or chronic, the former being most fatal among the very young and very old, whilst the latter being most prevalent in the old.

British Medical Association, BMA:
The professional organization, founded in 1832, which represents physicians in all branches of medicine. Doctors who are not members are not licensed to practice.

BSE: see CJD.

Business cycle, or trade cycle:
a regular pattern of rising and falling indices of economic activity, such as prices and production levels, with a typical periodicity of seven to eight years


a term for a trader on the West African coast who traded on behalf of a particular ruler. These men, mainly African, but sometimes of mixed race, were often skilled linguists and negotiators.

Or carcinoma, tumour, neoplasm. Tumours in various parts of the body with uncontrollable growth. Usually applied to 'malignant' cells because of their unlimited power of disorderly reproduction, their capacity to invade and destroy the tissues from which they arise, and their capacity to produce secondary growths some distance from the primary cancer.

goods used to produce goods and services; in Marxian economics capital also refers to the social relationship created by ownership of the means of production.

Non-permanent workers usually hired by the half day, day or on a particular job. These workers are easily laid off when no work is available.

CDR, see Crude Death Rate.

Cerebrovascular disease:
Or intra-cranial vascular lesions, vascular lesions of the nervous system, cerebral haemorrhage, apoplexy, stroke. An escape of blood from the vessels in the brain. Refers to the condition (commonly known as stroke or apoplexy) caused by diseased condition of the brain. Can be caused by an embolism, or a blockage of the blood vessels in the brain: this occurs absolutely suddenly. In elderly people the onset is more gradual, caused by extensively diseased blood vessels, with clotting known as thrombosis. Death may occur in the form of a cerebral infarction. The most important form of cerebrovascular disease, and that occasioning by far the most deaths is the cerebral haemorrhage. Here, the blood escapes from the degenerated blood vessels into the brain. Where it is a large blood vessel, and where the leaking is around the brain's most important structures, a serious stroke follows. In this case, death most often follows within a short period. In cases of recovery, paralysis often remains, and a recurrence of the haemorrhage is likely, with an increasing chance of death from each successive attack. Usually a disease of the elderly, but can occur in any age group.

The word for the workplace printers' trade union branch.

An often fatal disease characterized by vomiting of bile and intestinal muscle spasms. Disease originated in India, spreading westwards and eventually arriving in Britain in 1831. Caused by a bacteria spread primarily by contaminated water, but also by flies contaminating food with infected faeces. Prevalent in epidemic condition in crowded conditions occasioned by war, famine and extreme poverty

Chronic Disease:
Diseases of long duration, as opposed to acute diseases.

Usually a disease of the liver (also known as 'Hobnail Liver'), though the term has more recently been applied to other organs. The proper tissue of the organ is replaced by scar tissue, and in the liver, the colour of the organ turns to yellow. It was commonly, but not exclusively associated with chronic alcoholic excess, though modern research has found that this only damages the liver in tandem with another factor, such as nutritional deficiency.

The extent to which members of a social class are aware of their common interests, recognise their collective identity and unite in solidarity to advance the cause or interests of its class.

a term of mild derision coined by Stanley Ratner to label those who applied econometric methods to engage in historical analysis. This term was immediately adopted as a badge of pride by those who saw themselves as the targets of his remark, who refer to themselves as Cliometricians. The Cliometric Society, mainly but not solely a product of the USA, meets regularly to discuss research produced in this tradition. See also econometric history, historical economics and New Economic History:

Closed shop
In a workplace where a closed shop is enforced workers must be a member of an appropriate trade union.

CJD, see Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Collective bargaining
The process of negotiating collective agreements concerning pay and conditions between representatives of management and employees, which acts to produce an accommodation between capital and labour.

Coefficient of variation:
an index of a variable's dispersion around its estimated mean; calculated as the ratio of the standard deviation to the mean.

Conjuctivitis: eye infection, see also ophthalmia neonatorum.

Consumption: see Tuberculosis.

Coronary Infarction:
Or coronary thrombosis, myocardial infarction. Clot in the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle. The lack of blood supply to the heart in this sudden attack causes acute pain and the damage associated with the 'heart attack'.

Correlation analysis: a statistical procedure which examines the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables; this is quantified in terms of the deviation from the mean of each to discover the degree to which there may be associated movements which might indicate a causal relationship. See Correlation coefficient

.Correlation coefficient, r:
a descriptive statistic indicative of the degree of association between one variable and another (or, others, in the case of multiple correlation). An estimated correlation coefficient lies in the range of +1 and -1. A perfect positive correlation of +1 indicates that the two variables together change in the same direction while a perfect negative, or inverse, correlation of -1 indicates the variables change in the opposite directions, one growing while the other contracts. A correlation coefficient of zero (0) indicates that it is unlikely that there is a statistically significant association between the two variables.

Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA):
an economic procedure which assesses the impact of an innovation in terms of a counterfactual world in which it is absent. By the inclusion of social costs and benefits CBA attempts to quantify externalities ignored by a conventional accounting assessment of profit and loss generated by the adoption of an innovation. Cost-Benefit Analysis can be applied to political innovations including, for example, assessment of the creation of the Irish Free State or, more recently, the impact of devolution for Scotland and Wales. The most often cited examples relate to transport innovations where Cost-Benefit analysis has been used to asses the economic and social savings provided by Severn Road Bridge or, on a larger scale, the impact of railroads in the United States. In the context of Bristol's history, it would be interesting to conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis of the unadopted nineteenth century proposal to canalise the River Avon between the city's docks and the Severn Channel at Avonmouth. Bristol's businessmen are still criticised as unenterprising and lacking in initiative by some historians because they failed to make this innovative investment in transport infrastructure. However, even a cursory inspection of the financial history of the Manchester Ship Canal Company, the natural comparator in a counterfactual assessment of a Bristol Ship Canal, suggests that Bristolians were sensible in their aversion to this grandiose but futile project.

Counterfactual history:
historical analysis which attempts to assess the relative importance of an event (or institution) by assuming an alternative scenario in which the event did not occur (or the institution was absent). Originally seen by historians as 'virtual history' or 'fictitious history' that was ill-employed by quantitative economic historians, counterfactual analysis has recently grown in appeal for some historians - though, by contrast to the careful specifications of the New Economic History, these stories are often 'What-If?' speculations of an ill-defined nature. See Cost-Benefit Analysis; New Economic History.

Cross-sectional data:
information presented to represent a variety of categories, or cases, at a specific point in time; e.g. the electorate of each of Bristol parishes in 1774 or the number of females living in each of England's counties as enumerated by the Population Census of 1901. cf: time series data and panel data

Or membranous croup. Disease marked by laborious, suffocative breathing with creaking noise and short, dry cough and spitting of concrete membranous sputa. Often associated with diphtheria, though it can also be caused by acute laryngitis (infection of the larynx).

Crude Death Rate, CDR:
The basic measure of mortality, or number of deaths related to population: expressed as a rate per 1,000 of the population. Unadjusted, or not corrected by reference to modifying circumstances. The CDR does not take into account, for example, the age composition of a community: thus areas with an ageing population will have a higher death-rate, though are not necessarily less healthy than areas with a younger population.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, CJD.
A rapidly progressing dementia (usually within the course of a year), mainly affecting those between the ages of 40 and 65. It is transmitted by animals and inoculation with brain tissue of people with the disease. This rare disease is thought to be caused by a slow virus acting on the brain, and recently links have been made between CJD and the disease of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) in cattle, and that there may be a causal link between the infected meat of cattle suffering from this disease and younger people developing CJD


two or more datum (i.e. plural of datum), a series of observations, cases, facts; information. From the Latin, given things.

Datum: a single piece of information (i.e. singular of data). From Latin (dare: to give), something given.

Datum point: a point of reference (a given or fixed point).

Database management system, DBMS:
a computer application which allows the user to create tables, or databases, to store, analyse or present information; useful for the investigation of large datasets, especially where there are complex interrelationships.

DBMS: database management system.

Deal runners
Dockworkers designated to unload timber imported from all over the world.

Death Rate: see Mortality

Descriptive statistics:
the quantitative approach and methods adopted to describe data (e.g. average, mean, mode, range, standard deviation, coefficient of variation)

Or diabetes mellitus. Genetic disease, characterized by the accumulation of sugar in the blood and the consequent passage of large quantities of urine containing glucose, accompanied by thirst and emaciation. This is a constitutional disorder in which the ability of the tissues to utilize sugar for nutrition is diminished or lost because of a lack of insulin (the internal secretion of the pancreas). Severe cases can result in death through inflammatory chest affections or diabetic coma.

A purging, looseness or too frequent passing of faeces. Really a symptom of some disease in the bowels. Often associated with cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and tuberculosis in its most serious form. More recently it has been especially a symptom of intestinal infectious diseases and food poisoning. Infantile diarrhoea has long been the most serious form, often accompanied by vomiting. Most of these cases are caused by infantile gastroenteritis, with the rest (circa 10%) being made up by dysentery.

Diffusion: a process of temporal adoption. The differential spread of an innovation over time, through space and within social groups; the adoption of hindu-arabic numerals in Bristol between 1580 and 1670 is an example of technical diffusion.

The introduction of workers regarded as unskilled to work on tasks in whole or part categorised as skilled. In the context of this study dilution is the process where unskilled workers, mainly women replaced skilled workers called upon to fight in the two world wars.

Highly infectious disease, attacking the mucous membrane of the pharynx (at the back of the throat), the tonsils and air passages in which false membranes are formed. Frequently followed by temporary paralysis. Differs from croup in that the latter is only a local inflammation of the larynx. Disease conveyed by direct contagion (kissing an affected person, by their coughing or by using their cup or spoon), but can also be conveyed in milk. The disease has been mainly eradicated in Britain since the 1940s by vaccination.

An abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in the cavities of the body.

A water-borne disease, affecting the intestines in which inflammation and ulceration occur, and marked by faeces which is mainly mucus, sometimes mixed with blood. The disease is usually accompanied by diarrhoea and fever. Death can result in severe cases from haemorrhage from the gut. There are two main forms of the disease, bacillary and amoebic, the former being prevalent all over the world and the major type in Britain, and the latter mainly confined to the tropics (many cases identified recently in Britain were contracted in these parts of the world). Bacillary dysentery occurs sporadically or in epidemics, and is spread by flies, direct contact or infected water: overcrowding and unsanitary conditions encouraged epidemics. It is far less fatal today because of the use of the sulphonamides group of drugs in the treatment of the disease, but still can be dangerous in young infants, the old and malnourished.

Durbin-Watson test; a statistical test for autocorrelation.


Econometric history (Or Cliometric History, or Historical Economics):
the use of economic theory, statistical techniques and historical data to investigate the past. Historians usually define econometric history as the application of quantitative methods to historical information but, in so doing, they neglect the most element of this trinity - the use of economic theory. Although the economic theory employed is usually neo-classical this is not exclusively the case as both Keynesian and Marxian economic theory have informed research in econometric history. See also Counterfactual history; Cost-Benefit analysis.

a sub-division of the discipline of economics, Applied econometricians test economic theory using quantitative techniques to analyse numerical information, usually economic data.

the study of the allocation of scarce resources, through production and distribution, between competing and alternative uses, in the face of unlimited human demands. Economists study markets, and alternative systems of economic co-ordination, to investigate human activity motivated by desires to survive, reproduce and prosper.

Economist trade union militancy
Marxin concept describing the limitation of class struggle by trade union leaders to immediate economic demands where industrial disputes usually involve demands for more pay.

Edward Colston (1636-1721):
A Bristol-born merchant who lived for most of his life in London, he left the equivalent of millions of pounds to Bristol churches and charities on his death. He was involved in numerous enterprises including the trade in wine, dried fruit, and West Indian sugar. He was a high official of the Royal African Company which had the monopoly on the slave trade until 1698.

Electoral swing:
a measure of relative movement in electoral support from one political party to its rival based on ballots cast at successive elections; the electoral swing is the average of one party's gain and another's loss.

Employee involvement
Employer initiated schemes designed to increase commitment and motivation.

Or encephalitis lethargica, cephalitis. Encephalitis is a viral infection which causes inflammation of the brain and its membranes. In Encephalitis Lethargica dropsical swelling, haemorrhages and destruction of areas of tissue involving both nerve-cells and fibres may occur. This can also involve the spinal cord and even other organs. The disease is marked by a period of drowsiness or lethargy, which may become complete unconsciousness. Following this there may be various forms of paralysis. The most dramatic episode of infection followed the influenza pandemic after the First World War; its consequences were the subject of Oliver Sacks' book and film of the same name 'Awakenings'.

A disease always found in a locality, at a relatively constant level. cf Epidemic.

Enteric fever: see typhoid.

Epidemic and Pandemic:
A disease which affects a abnormally large number of people in a particular locality at one time, usually referring to infectious diseases. A pandemic is an epidemic which affects a vast area, such as a country or a continent. cf endemic.

The science of epidemics, usually taken to mean the study of infectious diseases and their spread.

A disease of the nervous system, with symptoms of fits of sudden and temporary loss of consciousness, with convulsions. Characterized by fits sometimes accompanied by foaming at the mouth. When there is a constant succession of attacks extending over many hours, there are sometimes fatal results.

Also known as 'St Anthony's Fire'. A contagious infection causing bright red colour of the skin of the face, with blisters and fever. Caused by the streptococcus organism as with scarlet fever. Fatal results can follow from the disease when it leads to inflammation of the membranes of the brain, and in some cases from suffocation from inflammation of the throat. It is most common in those between the ages of 50 and 60, and more common in women. Erysipelas neonatorum, attacking new-born infants in the first month or so of life, is particularly fatal.


Or febrile state. A condition of the body characterized by an increase in temperature, commonly accompanying many infectious and other diseases. When the body's temperature exceeds 107 degrees Fahrenheit (the normal temperature range being 98.4 to 99.5) for any length of time, death almost always results.

Food Poisoning:
Has become synonymous with bacterial food poisoning. This can be from a number of different strains of bacteria, including salmonella, and staphyloccocal food poisoning which results from unhygienic handling of food products. Food poisoning is characterized by vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. It is rarely fatal, though one of its rarest forms, botulism, again caused by mishandling of foods, is fatal in over 50% of cases.

Friendly Societies:
Mutual aid organizations formed voluntarily by individuals in order to protect members against debts incurred through ill-health, old age and death. Devised in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but coming to prominence in the nineteenth century, they often developed into insurance companies. This necessitated an estimate of the magnitude of risk, especially in terms of average ages of death, to ensure that members' contributions were sufficent to meet the risk.


Or gastritis, gastris-enteritis. Inflammation of the stomach and of the intestines due to a viral infection. Most serious is infantile gastroenteritis, caused by the E. coli organism or other viruses, which affects mainly those under the age of fifteen months. The younger the patient, the higher chance of death from gastroenteritis and its main symptom, diarrhoea.

General Practitioners, GPs: or Family Practitioners.
Single (or in combination in small practices), locally based physicians who meet all the basic health needs of their patients. The point of entry into the health system for most people in Britain. Still prevalent today in Britain, but less so in America.

General Register Office, GRO:
established in 1837 to administer the new system of civil registration for births, deaths and marriages. Under the powers of the Births and Deaths Registration Act and the Marriage Act of the previous year the position of Registrar General was created with the ability to gather statistics on these areas, using the system of poor law unions and Boards of Guardians to collect and structure this information.

German Measles: see Rubella.

Germ Theory:
The theoretical association of micro-organisms with disease developed in the late nineteenth century. Though germs, or bacteria, had been recognized from the seventeenth century, it was not until the work of Pasteur from 1865 and Koch from the mid-1870s onwards, that the definite causative link was made between this lowest form of life and disease. By their rapid reproduction in the body of the person or animal infected and their production of toxins, or products injurious to tissues, they produced the symptoms of infectious disease.

Gonorrhoea: see venereal disease.

GPs, see General Practitioners.

GRO, see General Register Office.

Goods: tangible commodities or products; e.g. apples, buses or computers. cf. Services.


Or infective jaundice. Inflammation of the liver, with jaundice being the classic (though not universal) symptom: a yellowness of the skin. In its acute form, caused by an intestinal viral infection passing from the faeces of infected persons to the mouth of the next. Hepatitis as mere inflammation of the liver may also be caused by amoebic dysentery, malaria, yellow fever or gall stones.

Historical Economics:
Deidre McCloskey's preferred term for the New Economic History or Cliometric History. In identifying some of the resistance of historians to quantitative analysis as cultural, McCloskey suggested that the adoption of the term Cliometrics was not necessarily going to make a difficult task easier; see D.N. McCloskey (1987) Econometric History, p.1-18. cf: History of Economics.

History of Economics:
a branch of economics which examines the lineage and characteristics of propositions in economic theory and applied economics. cf: Historical Economics.

Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. AIDS is an incurable infection with the HIV virus: once full-blown AIDS is developed it is always fatal. It is still relatively rare in the West, though it is endemic over a large part of Africa. In Britain it has primarily affected homosexual men, intravenous drug abusers and haemophiliacs. It is transmitted by sexual contact, parental transmission and infected blood products. Once infected there is a gap of around 5 years before the onset of symptoms. Not all of those who have contracted the HIV virus go on to develop AIDS.

Human Resource Management (HRM)
There is no consensus on the definition of HRM but it is usually understood to focus more closely on emphasising employees as valued company assets to be individually nurtured, developed and involved in order to secure commitment and loyalty and improve performance. Trade union representation does not fit well with this philosophy.

The science of preserving health, taking in measures such as sanitation and adequate and clean water supply.

Hyperplasia of Prostate: see Prostate.

Hypertensive Disease:
Or high blood-pressure. This is the persistence of blood pressure at this raised condition. If unchecked it usually results in eventual death as a result of heart attack, stroke or kidney failure. Mainly a disease of those over the age of 50, most common in men, in the obese and with a hereditary factor. ICD: The International Classification of Diseases. A common system of categorizing all causes of death, developed in the early part of the century, which the GRO used as a guideline for compilation of its cause of death statistics from 1911. From 1948 the ICD came under the aegis of the World Health Organization, as part of a United Nations initiative, and from then its classification was extended to include notifications of disease.

Hypothesis: an unproved causal relationship; an assumption or supposition.


Resistance to an infection, which can either be complete or partial and be acquired through previous exposure, vaccination or by heredity.

Immunisation: to make immune, often by inoculation.

Infant Mortality Rate:
Generally taken to mean the deaths of those under the age of 1 year. This is the definition used in this Abstract,. The infant mortality rate is the deaths of those under the age of 1 related to the number of births: expressed as a rate per 1,000 births.

a localised accumulation of dead tissue, caused by obstruction of the blood supply.

Inferential statistics;
the quantitative approach and methods used to search for relationships between variables.

Viral disease with cold-like symptoms in the upper respiratory tract, characterized by the suddenness of its attack, fever and generalized aches and pains. Highly contagious, it usually occurs in epidemics and pandemics. There were epidemics in 1830, 1833, 1836 and then a gap till 1889-90, 1897 and then the most serious of all in 1918-19. In this last pandemic, spreading across the world, 15-20 million were killed. The influenza virus can change its character easily, making vaccination against the disease very difficult. Antibiotics and other drugs are also ineffective against the virus. Infection of the lungs can follow, mainly by organisms other than the influenza virus. This can be particularly serious in old age. Also broncho-pneumonia can rapidly follow, and this killed many in the 1918-19 pandemic.


Joint Industrial Council:
A government sponsored institution, originating from the recommendations of the Whitley Committee in 1917 and 1918, where representatives of employer organisations and trade unions met on a regular basis to discuss, negotiate and attempt to settle their differences concerning wages and conditions of employment.


Labour process
The use of labour power, hand or brain, to transform raw materials into useful products and services.

Letter of Marque:
This was a document which British merchant ships could procure from the Government during war-time which gave them the right to capture enemy ships (and have a share in the goods they captured). A ship having such a letter was called a privateer.

A disease ranging from mild influenza-like form to a fatal form of jaundice due to severe liver disease. An occupational hazard of farmers, sewage and abattoir workers, fish cutters and veterinary surgeons, due to the presence of the micro-organism causing the disease in animal faeces and effluent. It can also be acquired from bathing in contaminated water. Amenable to treatment by penicillin.

A form of malignant cancer in which the number of white corpuscles in the blood is permanently increased. Can be either acute or chronic. Characterized by enlargement of the spleen and enlargement of the lymph glands. The disease is often fatal after a very few years.

Limited liability:
a legal provision which restricts the liability of a holder of company assets to any unpaid portion; only the money paid to obtain these is put at risk and the owner is absolved from responsibility for trading losses.

Local Boards of Health:
Instituted by the Public Health Act of 1848, local councils were obliged to set up committees of councillors to oversee the provision of adequate public health and sanitation measures.

Local Government Board:
Government department created in 1871 (from the merger of the Poor Law Board, the Local Government Act Office of the Home Office and the Medical Council of the Privy Council) to supervise local government services. It also had responsibility for the system of poor relief and associated medical services for the poor (from 1873). It was superseded by the Ministry of Health in 1919.


Ague or marsh fever is a disease caused by the presence of parasites in the blood. These are carried by a species of Mosquito particularly in swampy ground in warmer climates. The disease is characterized by a series of cold, hot and sweating stages in the patient. These attacks occur regularly but with periods of good health between attacks. But the temperature of the person affected sometimes rises till death occurs. Worst symptoms alleviated by drugs such as quinine.

A term mainly applied to tumours when they grow rapidly, infiltrate surrounding tissues and spread to distant parts of the body, leading to eventual death.

From the theories of the English economist Thomas Malthus (1766-1834). Malthus proposed that that without natural checks human populations tend to outrun the means available to sustain them. Malthusians suggested that population increase should be checked by moral constraint, particularly referring to the lower classes.

Marxian economics:
a materialist interpretation of history which identifies the struggle between antagonistic economic classes, defined by the ownership of the means of production, as the major determinant of history, proposed by Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) and Karl Marx (1818-1883) in The Communist Manifesto (1848).

an array of data in rows and columns. A newly opened spreadsheet file provides a matrix into which data can be entered.

Mean square deviation, see variance.

Means of production: physical assets used by labour to produce goods and services.

Morbilli or rubeola. Acute, contagious, viral disease, especially of early childhood after 6 months of age, characterized by a morbilli or rash, spreading from the face (which becomes swollen and bloated) to all parts of the body. It is accompanied by a fever stage, and infection of the respiratory passages. Here, in serious cases, especially where there is bad hygiene, it can lead to death through bronchitis or pneumonia. It is rarely absent in Britain, and attacks every two years. One attack usually gives immunity from future attacks. It is one of the most infectious diseases, spread mostly by infected droplets from the nose and throat, sneezed or coughed into the air.

Medical Officer of Health, MOH:
These were appointed by the Local Board of Health to apply their medical knowledge to the process of improving sanitary conditions and monitoring public health within sanitary areas. Their appointment was not made compulsory by the government, so while some areas appointed MOHs as early as 1847 (in the case of Liverpool, with London following suit the following year), others such as Bristol did not appoint a MOH until 1865.

Or malignant melanoma. Tumour arising from the pigmented cells of moles on the surface of the skin. Major form of skin cancer.

Or cerebro-spinal meningitis, cerebro-spinal fever. Infective disease causing inflammation of the membranes of the brain or spinal cord. The majority of cases of death from meningitis are through Meningococcal Meningitis, but there are also a significant number from tuberculous meningitis, syphilitic meningitis and other forms of infecting organism. Meningococcal meningitis is a dangerous epidemic condition characterized by painful contractions of the muscles of the neck and mental symptoms. There is fever, the appearance of red spots on the trunk of the victim, with death often occurring within a week of the onset of the disease. There were epidemics among British troops during the 1914-18 war and in Britain in 1939-40. It usually affects a closed community such as a school or garrison, and tends to occur in the months of February, March and April. It is spread through the nose, by coughing and sneezing. Young children are much more susceptible than adults. Treatment by penicillin brought mortality rates down from 70-100% to 7-10%.

Meningococcal Infection:
Infection by the meningococcal organism which can result in Meningitis, but may lead to other symptoms such as septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

The now discredited theory of spread of disease by 'bad air', or more particularly floating particles of decayed animals or vegetables in the air. It was thought later that this poisonous effluent in the air might be a gas from cesspits and sewers which was carried by the air to open wounds or into people's lungs. This theory was prevalent from the late eighteenth century into the first half of the nineteenth century, and led to measures against fouling the air and creating more open spaces in cities.

the investigation economic agents, including consumers (households), producers (firms), and specific markets (goods, services and money).

'the detailed study of geographic patterns at the level of sub-areas and small scale regions. The emphasis is on individual and small-group behaviour as related to the local environment and the social, cultural and economic workings of the group are outlined in depth.' Brian Goodall (1987: Facts on File: New York) The Facts on File Dictionary of Human Geography, p. 301.

detailed historical analysis of specific communities or districts which investigates economic, social and political behaviour of individuals and locally-based institutions.

MOH, see Medical Officer of Health.

Morbidity/Morbidity Rate: Or Morbility.
The extent or degree of prevalence of disease in a given area, whether the disease is fatal or not. Morbidity rate is the sick-rate or attack rate, with incidence of disease related to population: expressed usually as a rate per 1,000 of the population.

Mortality/ Mortality Rate:
The number of deaths which occur in a given area or period from particular diseases, or from all causes of death. Mortality rate is the average frequency of death or death-rate: which can be expressed as a rate per 1,000, per 100,000 or per 1,000,000 of the population. This abstract has expressed morbidity as a rate per 1,000.

correlation of two explanatory variables. In multiple regression, multicollinearity exists when two or more of independent variables, used to model the dependent variable, are themselves correlated.

Multiple Sclerosis:
Disease of the brain and spinal cord, marked by hardened patches appearing in the brain and spinal cord, damaging the motor functions of the brain. The cause of the disease is still uncertain. It is slow in onset but produces symptoms such as paralysis and tremors, which over time become confirmed often with great rigidity in the limbs. The disease mainly affects young people, under the age of 40, and many show no shortened duration of life, though they are permanently invalided.

A highly infectious disease characterized by swelling of the salivary glands, caused by a virus. Often occurring in epidemics in winter and spring and mostly affecting young persons, it is rarely fatal. As well as the characteristic swelling around the jaw, there is fever and the swelling can spread to the testicles in males and to the ovaries and breasts in women. Meningitis, and abdominal inflammation can also be a complication, and these are most likely to affect those contracting the disease as adults.


Nephritis: Or Bright's Disease.
Inflammation of the kidneys. Almost always associated with infection of the upper respiratory tract by a streptococcal organism, the causative element in scarlet fever and erysipelas. It sometimes occurs in association with these diseases. The kidneys have an allergic reaction to the organism and the kidneys become red, swollen and congested. There is vomiting, back pain, some fever and dropsy. In severe cases, urine is stopped completely by the inflammation, and death follows. More frequently, the inflammation subsides, but subacute nephritis (nephrosis) can remain. Following this a state of chronic nephritis is often reached, where the kidneys are small contracted and white in appearance, with kidney tissue replaced by scar tissue. Heightened blood-pressure can cause heart failure or stroke. Otherwise another infection may kill the weakened sufferer, or stoppage of the passage of urine paralyses vital activity.

Neo-classical economics:
economic theory which assumes the efficiency of market relationships to achieve optimal resource allocations and maximization of social welfare.

Or nephrotic syndrome. Degeneration of the kidneys characterized by anaemia, dropsy and coagulation of the fluids in the kidneys. This is most often caused by acute nephritis damaging the kidneys. There is fluid in the abdomen, reduced blood-pressure and reduction in output of urine. Sufferers are susceptible to infections, especially in the lungs and intestines, which may prove fatal. It can also lead to chronic nephritis.

New Economic History:
a school of history which emerged in the United States in the late 1950s which comprised largely of economists who used neo-classical economic theory and quantitative techniques to test propositions about historical phenomena or institutions. Pioneering New Economic Historians used capital theory, analysis of supply and demand conditions and counterfactual models to investigate the impact of the railroad on economic growth in the United States of America and the economic viability of slavery in the Southern States. Some historians found the New Economic History unappealing, and even unattractive; often these objections appeared to derive from culturally determined prejudices. Much criticism was misdirected and based on a fundamental error concerning the nature of quantitative analysis. It was assumed by critics that New Economic Historians used sophisticated statistical techniques which required copious amounts of accurate data to produce exact and precise parameters; but on each count the reverse was the case: the statistical techniques were relatively simple; the quantity and quality of data required were no more than that which a good 'traditional' historian to provide a well-grounded interpretation, or tell a convincing story; and, rather than being spuriously accurate, the results obtained were reported in a way which clearly indicated the extent to which they could be regarded as robust, or reliable. It is also remarkable that, contrary to the assertion made by those who derided their efforts, the New Economic Historians proved to be committed and exemplary information gatherers, searching out neglected sources, as well scouring those more commonly used, to publish datasets which have provided the foundations for much recent scholarship. See: R.W. Fogel (1964: John Hopkins UP: Baltimore) Railroads and American Economic Growth: Essays in Econometric History; A. Fishlow (1965: Harvard UP: Cambridge, Mass.) American Railroads and the Transformation of the Antebellum Economy; A. Conrad & J.R. Meyer (1958) 'The economics of slavery in the Ante Bellum South', Journal of Political Economy, vol.66, pp.95-130). See also Cliometrics.

Nominal data:
data representing a variable which is defined in terms of its quality rather than by a quantitative attribute; for example, gender, which is usually assumed to be a dichotomous variable.

Nominal record linkage:
the association of data, typically in a DBMS, according to shared nominal characteristics; the joining of relational tables, for example by surnames or gender.

Nominative record linkage:
the association of data, typically in a DBMS, linked by name.

Null hypothesis, Ho:
the opposite to the maintained hypothesis; i.e. the alternative hypothesis tested to ascertain if the relationship under investigation may be the result of chance rather than the proposed causal relationship under investigation.


Ophthalmia Neonatorum:
Or conjunctivitis. Inflammation of the eye in newly born children. This is due to infection from the mother usually due to the venereal disease, gonorrhoea. There is severe ulceration, which can severely damage the eyes. Once responsible for half of the blindness in children, it is now much reduced.

An increased porousness of bone due to lack of calcium, a manifestation of the ageing process, and accentuated by immobilization in bed. This 'brittle bone' disorder leads to sufferers breaking bones far more easily. Pandemic: see Epidemic.


Panel data:
a structured data set which combines both cross-sectional data and time-series data; for example, the population of English counties enumerated by four consecutive Censuses of Population.

(1) a numerical constant in a mathematical equation; (2) a descriptive statistic which provides a summary measure of a characteristic (or attribute) of a population (e.g. the average height of all females who live in Bristol); for a sample the equivalent descriptive statistic is termed the estimate of that parameter (the average height of a sample of all females who live in Bristol).

Parametric tests: 'Classical' statistical analysis which makes a number of assumptions about the nature and character of data to estimate parameters.

A form of enteric fever. A case of fever resembling typhoid, but of shorter duration, noticed at the end of the nineteenth century. Less severe symptoms than typhoid fever, though the onset of the disease is often more sudden.

Implicit in a paternalist relationship between an employer and employees is employers' commitment to a set of economic and social obligations designed to secure workers' deference.

Inflammation of the membranous bag which contains the heart. Caused by heart disease.

Old term for pulmonary tuberculosis or consumption.

A payment scheme based on how much a worker produces.

Inflammation of the lungs. This mainly takes the form of acute pneumonia and broncho-pneumonia, though pneumonia can also be a complication of other diseases, such as typhoid fever. In its acute form it is caused by the pneumococcus bacteria and is marked by congestion of blood in the lungs (usually just one lung unless the more serious condition of double pneumonia is contracted), vomiting, pain in the chest and fever. These are accompanied at first by a frequent, hacking cough bringing up eventually copious rusty-brown material. Death can take place due to the extent of inflammation, exhaustion, or heart failure. The disease is most common between the ages of 20 and 50 and is more prevalent in the late winter and early spring. The death rate from the disease is highest in the under fives and over 60s. In broncho-pneumonia the inflammation is more diffuse and there is increased difficulty in breathing, the infection usually being the result of Bronchitis. It mainly affects the young and the old, and is one of the chief causes of death in the aged. It rapidly becomes fatal in weakly persons, the inflammation spreading and the lungs filling up with secretion. Both forms can turn into chronic pneumoni.

Viral disease from the same group as poliomyelitis, causing inflammation of the cortical grey matter of the brain.

Viral disease causing inflammation of the grey matter of the spinal cord. The major symptom of the disease is paralysis of the limbs. Where the diaphragm and muscles of respiration are involved, breathing may be prevented, and the sufferer may die in a very short space of time. It is spread by contact with faeces then by hand to mouth. Epidemics tend to occur in the late summer and early autumn. The introduction of a vaccine has now practically eradicated the disease in Britain.

Probability: an essential building block of statistical analysis which indicates the likelihood of an event occurring (or a case being observed; or a relationship being significant); the limits specified range from zero (0) to one (1).

a characteristic of a variable.

Property rights: a social relationship which defines the legally enforced by the state.

gland in the male reproductive organs. Hyperplasia of the prostate is the abnormal increase in the number of cells in the tissue of the prostate. This causes an obstruction in the passing of urine from the bladder. The condition affects those late in life, and can only be treated by removal of the organ, which it is estimated one in ten men will require at some time in life.

Puerperal Fever:
Or puerperal septic disease, metria, puerperal pyrexia. Generalized infection during the puerperum (following childbirth), usually starting with inflammation of the peritoneum. The mother at this time is particularly susceptible owing to weakness and wounds in the genital tract caused by accidents in childbirth. Most commonly the streptococcus bacteria is involved. Most frequently, blood poisoning ensues. Pyrexia usually refers to any feverish condition within fourteen days of pregnancy other than puerperal fever. Antiseptic measures and cleanliness have reduced the condition to a minimum.

Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Consumption or phthisis. Tuberculosis
of the lungs or respiratory system. Characterized by emaciation, debility, cough, hectic fever and expectoration (spitting) of pus. This form of tuberculosis is spread by the bacteria in the sputum and other discharges of sufferers: either inhaled dried in the form of dust or as droplets coughed into the air. 90% of those dying from tuberculosis do so as it affects the lungs. A marked symptom of the disease is spitting of blood, and this becomes more extreme as the disease progresses, and the haemorrhaging which causes this often brings about the death of the sufferer. Death from Consumption has been drastically reduced since the 1950s after the sustained programme of BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin) vaccinations, the first vaccine to give significant immunity against tuberculosis.

Pyrexia: see Puerperal Fever



Quantitative history:
historical analysis of numerical data. See also Econometric History; Historical Economics; and New Economic History.



see Correlation coefficient.

said 'R-squared'; the correlation coefficient; literally r times itself.

unsystematic or haphazard; a process where the outcome of any event is the result of chance. cf systematic, predetermined.

Regression analysis:
a statistical technique which estimates a functional relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables in the form of a fitted regression line. See also correlation analysis.

Relational database management system (RDMS):
a Database Management System which facilitates the joining of two or more separate database files; examples include ACCESS, PARADOX and ORACLE.

Rheumatoid Arthritis:
A chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, with enlargement and abrasion of the bones, and deposit in the tissues around. Rubella: Or German measles. An acute infectious disease with mild effects, often difficult to differentiate from mild measles or scarlet fever. Characterized by enlargement of the neck glands and a pink rash. Important as a disease in pregnancy as it can be responsible for congenital defects in the unborn child.


St Anthony's Fire: see Erysipelas

One of the commonest forms of food poisoning is that caused by a bacteria from the salmonella group. This bacteria may be present in all foods of animal origin: including meats, dairy products and eggs. Onset of food poisoning is within 12 to 48 hours after eating the contaminated food.

The science which aims at the prevention of disease, and improvement of the general health of the populace by mitigation of all external conditions which tend to disease in individuals. It takes in a knowledge of medicine, bacteriology, engineering, meteorology, architecture and geology. Measures arising from it include improvements in ventilation, sewerage, refuse disposal, water supply, hospital accommodation, programmes of disinfection, disposal of the dead, the abatement of nuisances and the inspection of meat and food.

Scab labour
Workers who refuse to join a strike or volunteer to replace workers involved in strike action.

Scarlet Fever/Scarlatina:
Highly contagious disease characterized by swollen face, fever, sore throat and a scarlet eruption on the skin in patches. Vomiting and delirium or convulsions are also features of the disease in childhood. The tongue also becomes white and furred with red spots. Ending in separation of scales of skin beneath the fingernails and sometimes a general peeling of the skin over the body. Distinguished from measles since the late 17th century, this disease is due to an infection with a haemolytic streptococcus. Spread by infectious discharges from the nose, ears and throat, it can also be carried by milk. Primarily a disease of childhood (the vast majority of cases being under 15, with most of those under 5), it can also affect women in the puerperal state. Adults can contract the disease if they did not suffer from it as infants, but one attack usually confers immunity from a second. It is also an autumnal disease, appearing most often in September, October and November. The main and most serious complication of the disease is nephritis, which can end in uraemic poisoning (suppression of urine) or general dropsy, both of which can rapidly prove fatal. It can also lead to chronic nephritis or heart disease. Mainly non-lethal since the early part of the century, it responds to sulphonamide drugs or penicillin. Careful nursing, avoiding chills, owing to the danger of kidney complications, is greatly important. Scarlatina was a name given popularly to a milder form of the disease, although medical practitioners did not make this distinction.

The pursuance of narrow interests often at the expense of others, which in particular has frequently divided workers along gender, craft and occupational lines.

s.e.e., see standard error.

Serial correlation, see autocorrelation.

Serious form of blood poisoning due to multiplication of bacteria in the blood-stream. Usually caused by invasion of a wound by virulent bacteria. Death may speedily follow.

Services: intangible commodities or products; e.g. transport, finance or entertainment. cf. Goods.

Sexually Transmitted Disease, STD: See Venereal Disease.

in statistics, the degree to which an observed relationship can be regarded as sufficiently different from its null hypothesis to be disregarded as a result of chance.

Significance testing:
statistical test to discern the degree to which an estimated association differs from the null hypothesis that the proposed causal relationship can be attributed to chance.

an overcrowded district containing inadequate, low quality housing, often ancient and usually insalubrious and disagreeable in character, populated by those socially marginalized, the poor, unemployed and recent immigrants, who can only afford low rents.

Highly contagious and life-threatening disease, characterized by fever accompanied by an eruption of red pimples, later producing pus and then drying and falling off in crusts. There is also great inflammation around the pimples which can be disfiguring. There is also marked fever, and death is most common for the very young and very old. Certain varieties of Smallpox are more lethal, such as haemorrhagic smallpox where there is bleeding from various mucous surfaces, and confluent smallpox, where mortality is at over 50% of cases. In London in the eighteenth century, one in every twelve deaths was due to Smallpox. Originating in Asia, it spread extensively in Europe after the Crusades. Spread by contact with sufferers or with their clothes. Smallpox has proved very susceptible to vaccination and, following international health campaigns, appears to have been eliminated throughout the world.

Spatial: relating to space; used to denote geographical distributions.

Standard deviation, SD:
a statistical measure of dispersion around the arithmetic mean; square root of the variance. The square root of the average of the squared deviations from the mean. The standard deviation is a more convenient measure of variance than the variance because the unit of measurement is the same as the variable to which is applies (In other words, in examining the heights of a regiment of soldiers, the standard deviation would be measured in metres but, not very helpfully, the variance would be calculated in squared metres).

Standard error, or s.e.e.: the standard deviation of the error terms around an estimated regression line; this indicates dispersion of observed cases around the line of best fit and is indicative of the statistical significance of an estimated relationship.

Statistics: although colloquially used as a synonym for numerical information (e.g. size of population, wage rates), statistics is a branch of mathematics which uses quantitative techniques to analyse numerical information. Two types of statistical analysis are important for historians: descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.

STD: Sexually Transmitted Disease. See Venereal Disease.

a random variable of zero mean and bounded variance.

Stomach/Duodenal Ulcer:
Or peptic ulcer. A degenerative change in the mucous membrane of the intestinal wall causes the area to be less able to resist the action of gastric acid, and an ulcer or wound appears and starts to penetrate through the coats of the stomach or duodenum. If perforation occurs, this may prove fatal, as may severe bleeding or obstruction of the opening of the stomach caused by the ulcer. Peptic ulcers are marked by severe abdominal pain and sometimes vomiting of blood. The condition of stomach ulcer is two to three times more prevalent in men and becomes more likely as age increases. Duodenal ulcers, occurring in the upper part of the intestine, are ten to fifteen times more likely than stomach ulcers, and are even more common in men. The difference is that they affect people at any age after 20 years onwards. They are also more common among higher social classes (stomach ulcers being more common in the lower social strata) and the large increase in all peptic ulcers since the turn of the century has mainly been due to the duodenal form. Both forms often become chronic disease, lasting many years. The cause is still uncertain. There appear to be links with stress and heredity. More recently, despite expressions of sustained disbelief among the established medical experts, a micro-organism has been found to be the cause of a large number of cases.

Disease caused by the action of a variety of bacteria which form strings. Responsible for scarlet fever and erysipelas.

Syndicalism supports the struggle for workers' control based on direct action through industrially organised unions and is opposed to arbitration and conciliation agreements.

Swing: see electoral swing.

Primarily a venereal disease. Symptoms include initial sores in the area of infection, fever and later growth of hard nodules. When these develop in the brain, the central nervous system can be effected. Can be acquired from persons suffering or congenital. The acquired form is usually via sexual intercourse, but kissing, contact with wounds or sometimes with clothing and articles used by sufferers may spread the disease. Often claimed to have been introduced into Europe by sailors returning from newly discovered America, though some evidence suggests previous occurrence in medieval Europe. Effectively treatable with penicillin.


A form of scientific management, named after F. W. Taylor an American engineer, designed to increase control over the workforce.

Or lockjaw. Disorder of the nervous system caused by a bacteria which inhabits earth and dust. Caused by infection of a wound with earth containing bacteria, and poison produced by the bacteria finding its way into the spinal cord. Symptoms are stiffness in the muscles near the wound and in those around the jaw, causing difficulty opening the mouth. Convulsions in the muscles can cause asphyxia from prolonged contraction of the respiratory muscles. It is most dangerous in the young and the old, where mortality can be up to 40%. The development of immunization through antitoxin has made the disease much less prevalent.

Time series data:
statistical information organised in order of occurrence through time: e.g. the annual value of exports from the port of Bristol between 1851 and 1900 or the population of Bristol enumerated in various years since 1000 AD. cf cross-sectional data.

Trade cycle: see business cyclew.

Type I Error:
erroneous rejection of a null hypothesis which is true.

Type II Error:
erroneous failure to reject a null hypothesis which is false.

Refers to any of the diseases in which small, hard, prominent and circumscribed tumours (permanent or sometimes producing pus) are formed in various parts of the body, with the multiplication and changing of the tubercles leading to a destruction of the organ in which they were found. All of the forms of the disease are caused by the mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most commonly it refers to pulmonary tuberculosis: the form of the disease in the lungs.

Typhoid Fever:
Or enteric fever (fever of the intestines). A water-borne fever, distinguished from typhus by ulceration of the intestines. It was not distinguished from Typhus until the middle of the nineteenth century. Similar symptoms and causal bacteria to dysentery and food-poisoning. Caused by the salmonella typhi bacteria. After a fever stage, there are abdominal pains, pink spots on the torso, and gradual weakening of the patient. Death occurs through exhaustion, bowel haemorrhage, perforated stomach ulcer, excessive rise in temperature or complications such as inflammation of the lungs. The disease is spread through the faeces and urine of sufferers, either through water or milk, or via house flies. Insanitary condition of drains, water supplies, milk and food are thus favourable conditions for the spread of the disease.

Typhus Fever :
Covering a number of different forms, with epidemic typhus, or spotted fever, being the main form in Europe tending to occur in famine conditions (such as the Irish potato famines). Carried by the louse and spread through their dried faeces. Probably the ancient famine-sickness. Also murine typhus, spread by flea infected rats, is a world-wide form, and is prevalent in crowded, unsanitary, rat-infested areas. Typhus is characterized by a general, dusky, mottled rash with specific lesions of the bowels. Death can follow a comatose stage, through heart failure, or gangrene. Mortality can be up to 100% in weakened communities. All forms are caused by the rickettsia organism, which are intermediate between bacteria and viruses. Typhus has been made far less lethal since the introduction of specific antibiotics.


Formerly referring specifically to inoculation with cowpox to prevent smallpox, now describes any process of infecting people with a modified or mild form of a disease to obtain immunity, or protection, against the more serious effects of the corresponding disease. The vaccine contains the living virus, with the disease producing part of the micro-organism destroyed. Developed for smallpox by Edward Jenner, a surgeon from Gloucestershire, who scientifically proved the traditional local belief that a dose of cowpox could give immunity from smallpox. He made his findings at the turn of the eighteenth century, and his process of vaccination (or variolation against smallpox, as he termed it) became widespread in the following century; his work commemorated at the Jenner Museum at Berkeley in Gloucestershire .

a case (observation) or set of cases (observations) defined by one of more characteristics. For example, a set of data representing the population of Bristol is a variable which varies over time. It is also variable in another sense; the data for any point in time it could also differ according to the definition adopted.

Variance, V, or, mean square deviation:
a statistical measure of dispersion around an arithmetic mean; the average of the squared deviations from the mean. The square root of the variance is the standard deviation.

Venereal Disease:
Or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Disease, usually of the genito-urinary organs, spread by sexual intercourse. Almost exclusively used as a synonym for syphilis in early cause of death tables, but also could cover such diseases as gonorrhoea and baptorrhoea.

Virus: Viral.
Minute micro-organism (smaller than a bacterium) capable of causing disease.


Whooping Cough:
Contagious disease of the mucous membrane lining the air passages, characterized by convulsive, strangulated coughing (with distinctive 'whooping' sound) which returns in fits and is usually terminated by vomiting. Can cause complications in terms of fatal convulsions, and inflammatory affections of the bronchial tubes and lungs. Mostly prevailing in the winter months, and occurring in cycles of around three years. Usually a disease of childhood, most prevalent between the ages of 1 and 4, and uncommon after 10. Effective preventive measures were made with the introduction of vaccination against the disease.


The archaic term for acute infectious diseases. Originally used by the Registrar General's department to refer to epidemic, endemic and contagious diseases, thought to be caused by a process similar to fermentation. This originally included a large number of diseases, but came to mean only the major contagious diseases: such as typhus, typhoid, smallpox, scarlet fever, measles, erysipelas, cholera, whooping cough and diphtheria. Now seldom used because of the discredited theory upon which it rested.