by Amelia Bewick & Leena Ghimire
On Friday 29th September, Year 11 History students visited Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham to find out about Medicine through Time, as party of one of their GCSE History topics. Amelia and Leena report:
Firstly, we met Mr Woolley and Mrs Bromage, who both had different views on the National Health Service in the 1900s. Mr Woolley’s argument was that the NHS is too expensive and taxes are too high, therefore people should be able to choose where they spend their money. We strongly disagreed with his viewpoint as we believe that healthcare is never too costly. Mr Woolley believes that when people get ill and are then cured, they will just become sick again, so ‘Where will it end?’ he asks. He also believes that having more children results in people not being able to afford healthcare. Also, Mr Woolley disagrees with scientists over drugs and tobacco causing cancer. This was the view of many businessmen and shop owners in the 1950s.
Mrs Bromage suggests that the government should have an unbiased view on the link between tobacco and cancer so that a reliable conclusion can be found. She was promoting a maternity clinic and campaigned for more medicine. Mrs Bromage also believes that taxing people depending on what they earn is a fair way of funding the NHS. In addition, this means that healthcare is free at the point of delivery/injury. For example, her husband had broken his leg and was able to get a treatment without paying up front. Moreover, Mrs Bromage feels that education is one of the most important factors of preventing illness. We agree with her opinion about these issues over Mr Woolley as we think that everyone deserves free healthcare.
Furthermore, Georgian medicine was unpractical. People who couldn’t afford a doctor saw a quack doctor. Since there was a lack of clean water, bandages that had been used on multiple people would get cleaned in an unhygienic way, which spread infections quickly. Many people painted their houses with paint containing arsenic, not knowing that it was a deadly poison. Another factor causing ill health was their diet and lifestyle. They rarely had water, instead they drank weak ale, even the children.
In conclusion, we learned that medicine and healthcare has improved dramatically over the years, particularly since the war.