This film is part of Free

Public Health Service

White-coated scientists, doctors, chiropodists, dentists, and midwives unite in their mission to eradicate disease and ignorance from Bermondsey.

Documentary 1931 14 mins Silent


No germ is safe in Bermondsey! A food inspector subjects a milkman's produce to an 'on the spot' test; children are tested for diptheria; contaminated mattresses undergo sanitation at the 'disinfectant station'. In the days before antibiotics this progressive London Authority specialised in the treatment of tuberculosis, instituting the country's first municipal solarium on Grange Street.

In the 1920s Bermondsey Borough Council set up its own public health service, pre-dating the National Health Service by around twenty years. As part of its commitment to teaching the poor of Bermondsey that 'prevention is better than cure' it disseminated literature, organised lectures, and produced and exhibited its own films (such as this one) extolling the virtues of cleanliness and sobriety.