Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System (GBHGIS)
The Changing Geography of Health
There is already a substantial body of research which has studied the geography of mortality, and particularly the geography of mortality from particular diseases in particular periods, based mainly on the Registrar General's Decennial Supplements. Three atlases based on such research are:
- Woods, R. & Shelton, N., 1997, An Atlas of Victorian Mortality (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press) - on the 1851-1900 period.
- Melvyn Howe, G., 1963, National Atlas of Disease Mortality in the United Kingdom (London: Nelson) - on the 1950s.
- Gardner, M. J., Winter, P. D., and Barker, D. J. P., 1984, Atlas of Mortality from Selected Diseases in England and Wales, 1968-78 (Chichester: Wiley).
Our work based on the GIS has a rather different emphasis, focusing on three areas:
Long-run trends in mortality for sub-county units. This involves adjusting both for the constant trickle of boundary changes which affected all systems of reporting units, and for the Registrar General's complete shift from Registration Districts to local government districts as the main reporting units in 1911.
Explanations of mortality change. Research into mortality decline has relied almost entirely on mortality statistics! The GBH database contains a wide range of other information, which can help us explain observed patterns of mortality.
The relationship between mortality and morbidity. Research into the people's health in past times has been almost entirely concerned with mortality. We have been assembling data on sickness or morbidity, measured mainly through the operation of early sickness insurance schemes.