Infant Mortality in South Shropshire

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This article was derived from a B Phil academic thesis that I wrote as a result of a piece of research that I carried out in 1997. If you would like to read the whole thesis you may do so by clicking here.


For many years scholars have debated the reasons for the decline in infant mortality (i.e. deaths of children under twelve months old) which occurred in England and Wales since 1871. Broadly, the infant mortality rate (IMR) as measured in the official statistics of the Registrar General peaked in the 1890s at a rate of approximately 150 deaths per 1000 births (Smith, F.B., 1979, p.65), and has fallen since then until in the 1970s the comparable rate was approximately 20 deaths per 1000 births (Lee, C.H., 1991, p.61).

Explanations for this decline range from the belief that the rise in the standard of living of the population resulted in improved health and lower infant mortality (McKeown, T., Record, R.G., & Turner, R.D., 1975, pp. 391-422), to the theory that the fall in infant mortality was brought about by improvements in public health provisions, examples of such provisions being improved public amenities such as sewers, water supplies, and housing. These improvements were brought about by human agency, in the form of government-backed interventions (Szreter, S., 1988, pp.1-37).

The protagonists in this debate all have their own views on the fall of infant mortality, but they have in common the fact that their various researches have been carried out using the annual and quarterly statistics produced by the Registrar General. These sources are limited in the sense that they can only provide a macro-view of the problem. Whilst it is possible to look at infant mortality at the level of the Registration District or Sub-District, it is not possible to carry out research at the micro-level of, say, a village or township.

In an attempt to provide a view of infant mortality that encompasses small-scale research, Prof. Michael Drake of the Open University and Dr. Peter Razzell have organised a nation-wide project which has as its aim the provision of a more localised, detailed view of infant mortality in the period 1871-1948. Participants are using primary sources which, so far as I am aware, have not been used previously in research into infant mortality. It is hoped that the results of the project will provide new insights into the phenomenon of infant mortality during the above period, as well as suggesting reasons for the dramatic decline in infant mortality that has occurred during our century. I was invited to take part in this project in its first year, during 1997, as a piece of research for a B.Phil Degree with the Open University.

The main sources for this project are the Vaccination Registers which were kept by the Vaccination Officers from 1871 onwards. The keeping of these records was instigated by the British Government in 1871, as part of the machinery which was designed to enforce newly enacted legislation, to compel vaccination against Smallpox of all infants. This initiative was a response to the increase in smallpox mortality that had occurred in England and Wales in 1871. The Vaccination Registers are an official source, which was kept by Vaccination Officers in the localities, to strict instructions issued by the Local Government Board (Drake, M. & Razzell, P., 1997, pp.20/21). As such, they conform to a standard format, and the scope of the information contained in them should be consistent.

I have listed in Appendix 1 the information that was required to be entered in the Vaccination Registers. They were cross-referred to the Civil Register of Births by recording a serial number in respect of each entry, this number being common to both records. As the geographical area covered by the Vaccination Register of Births is the registration sub-district, and all births in the area had to be recorded in it, it follows that this register should be a copy of the civil register of births for the registration sub-district. This being so, the reference numbers in the Civil Register of Births cited in this register should run consecutively.

It will be appreciated that this source enables us to discover a great deal of information about the children recorded in its pages, and their parents. This is why this source is so important to the research project; I was able to look beyond national or Sub-District statistics, and research in detail the structure of infant mortality at a micro level. It even proved possible to research the subject by studying individuals or small family groups!

Vaccination Officers were also required to keep a register of infant deaths, which was cross-referred to their Births Register. Although these registers did not include cause of death information, their value to a project such as ours can be appreciated readily.

Through a survey of record offices in England and Wales our project leaders learned the location and coverage of the Vaccination Registers of Birth and Deaths which have survived the ravages of time. In Shropshire the only registers known to be available are the Vaccination Officers’ Registers of Births for the Registration Sub-Districts of Norbury and Lydbury North, and thus it was that I adopted these villages as my area of research.

The period covered by these registers is as follows: –

Norbury 30 May 1891 -28 January 1903.
Lydbury North 3 December 1888 – 30 April 1911 .

The Registers of Infant Deaths have not survived for either sub-district, but many infant deaths have been recorded in the Registers of Births.

In order to obtain results that allowed easy comparison between the two sub-districts I wanted to research the same time span in each. I therefore decided to concentrate my efforts on the period June 1891 to December 1902.

In order to ensure that the results of my work were as accurate as possible I spent much time obtaining details of infant deaths in the two sub-districts, mainly by reference to parish registers. Many of these registers are held at the Shropshire Records & Research Centre, Shrewsbury , and I became a frequent visitor there. I also visited several churches in the area, in order to use the registers that are still held in the parishes.

After satisfying myself that I had achieved a close correlation between the official statistics of infant deaths and the figures that I had obtained, I moved to the analysis of my findings, which I shall now summarise.

Overall Infant Mortality Rates

In considering the results of my research, allowance should be made for the small numbers in which I am dealing. South Shropshire in the 1890s was a low population area, and it is inevitable that this fact is reflected in my work. My research uncovered only 59 infant deaths over the period under study, and when dealing with such small figures one’s results can easily be skewed. Some of my findings may be regarded as statistically insignificant, but that would seem unavoidable in carrying out research at such a localised, micro-level.

In order to place my results in context, it is worthwhile to compare them to the infant mortality statistics for my period for England & Wales . Appendix 2 shows that Norbury and Lydbury North experienced lower rates of infant mortality in the 1890s than was the case in England & Wales – indeed, the combined rate for the two sub-districts over the eleven-year period was half the rate for England & Wales. However, this overall statistic masks the considerable difference in the infant mortality rates in the two sub-districts. The IMR for Norbury was 50 deaths per 1000 births, whilst in Lydbury North the rate was 92.

Within these overall IMRs, there were considerable differences from year to year. The peak years for infant mortality in Norbury were 1892, when the IMR reached the dizzy heights of 97, and 1900, when it was 118. In Lydbury North the worst years were 1898, when the IMR was 167, and 1902, when it was 171. Both these IMRs exceeded the rate for England & Wales for those years. It should also be noted that there were many years in which there was little or no infant mortality. In Norbury there were four separate years in which there were no infant deaths, whilst in Lydbury North there was only one such year.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of infant mortality in the two sub-districts under study I analysed my results in the context of individual parishes, as well as at the level of the sub-districts (Appendix 3). In Norbury R.S.D. I noticed that the parishes experiencing the worst IMRs over the period of my work were Wentnor (78) and Norbury (66), indeed, almost all cases of infant mortality occurred in those places. All the parishes in Lydbury North R.S.D. experienced levels of infant mortality which exceeded those in the Norbury parishes, the highest rate being at Edgton (130). When we consider that the IMR for Shropshire in 1902 was 103, we can appreciate that the level of infant mortality in Lydbury North R.S.D. can be considered high.

How should we account for the differences in the experiences of infant mortality in the two sub-districts? I carried out several types of analysis in my attempt to solve this problem. I examined environmental conditions in the area under study, using the Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health and the Report of the Local Government Board’s Inspector (1905), supplemented by several other local sources. This research showed that the housing conditions in the localities left much to be desired – indeed they were positively insanitary in some cases. There was one instance cited which described how a pile of manure had been placed against the wall of a house, and the liquid discharge from this had seeped into the living accommodation!

It is apparent that the water supply in the area was severely deficient. The Medical Officer of Health reports made several references to the need to provide better wells, for example in 1899, the minutes of the Sanitary & Rivers Pollution Committee of Shropshire County Council noted a need to improve water storage at Clody Well, Wentnor. Local opposition to such developments was recorded in the same source in 1900. It was stated that the local people in Wentnor had responded to a demand from the Council for improved water supplies in that parish by stating that they were not in favour of incurring expense in this cause.

The Medical Officer of Health noted in his report of 1902 (p.47) that the water supply in Lydbury North had been improved to the point at which one third of the area had “a private gravitation supply of good upland spring water”. However, we are entitled to ask how the other two thirds of the population were catered for! The Local Government Board inspector (1905) pointed to the poor quality of the water supply.

Whilst it seems reasonable to assume that environmental factors such as those mentioned above may have contributed to the problem of infant mortality in my period, the absence of information regarding causes of deaths means that it is impossible to be definite about this. In search of a better understanding of the structure of infant mortality in Norbury and Lydbury North in the 1890s I now move on to more detailed consideration of my findings.

In order to achieve a closer, multi-faceted view of infant mortality in Norbury and Lydbury North in my period I decided to link the information from various local sources. For example, by linking information from Census Enumerators’ Books to that obtained from Vaccination Officers’ Births Registers and parish records I could build up an overall picture of communities and families. This enabled me to look closely at issues such as the sizes of families in which infant deaths occurred, and the relationship between social status and infant mortality. There is not space, in a short article such as this, to detail all my results, but I shall now outline what I believe to be the most significant of my findings.

Neo-Natal Mortality

Several researchers into infant mortality have drawn attention to the generally high incidence of infant death in the first month after birth, among which were Newman (1906, p.40). Appendix 4 shows that neo-natal mortality was a significant factor in the infant mortality that I treated. There were differences in the percentages of total infant deaths in each sub-district that occurred in the first few days after birth, but in both locations a very significant proportion of infant deaths fell into this category. In Norbury, 37% of infant deaths occurred within seven days of birth, and 50% of infant deaths occurred before the age of thirty days. In Lydbury North 45% of infant deaths occurred within seven days of birth, and 64% of infant deaths occurred before the age of thirty days. I analysed the information I collected in relation to neo-natal mortality by occupation, in order to ascertain the extent to which this phenomenon was influenced by poverty, and Appendix 5 shows the results of my efforts.

Appendix 5 links data about the ages at which infants died in the period and area of my research to the occupation of the parents. Out of the six infant deaths in Norbury which occurred within seven days of birth between June 1891 and December 1902, four of them were the offspring of farmers; the other two were the offspring of labourers. This finding is somewhat unusual, as it has often been held that infant mortality was more likely to occur in poorer families (Woods, R.I., Watterson, P.A., & Woodward, J.H., 1988, p. 363) so I decided to analyse these infant deaths more closely.

Three of the farmers whose infants died under seven days old lived in Wentnor; the other case occurred in the village of More . Two of the cases in Wentnor occurred in families where the mother was aged over 30. In one case the mother was aged 34, and is known to have had at least 5 previous children. In the other case the mother was aged 37, and had given birth on at least 7 previous occasions. In the case that occurred in More, the mother was aged 29 years, and I do not know of her having given birth previously.

In considering the information in Appendix 5 in respect of Lydbury North, the reader will note that the pattern of high incidence of infant deaths under seven days old in farmers’ families which occurred in Norbury was repeated in that sub-district, although the numbers involved were smaller. Of the four infant deaths in families of farmers in Lydbury North, three of them occurred within the first seven days. This suggests that the result found at Norbury may not be a freak. The high proportion of deaths to the children of labourers is more in keeping with the pattern that one may expect to find, bearing in mind my above comments.

Taking Lydbury North and Norbury together, we see that the occupational group with the highest percentage of infant mortality over the 10.1/2-year period was labourers. However, we are left with the problem of how to account for the difference between the results of this research in the two sub-districts.

Family-Level Analysis of Infant Mortality

I shall now briefly outline the results of my analysis of the information at my disposal in terms of the individual families in which infant deaths occurred. I should point out that in linking information from different sources I only used data about families when I was absolutely certain that a link was made between sources. Thus, there were a number of families that I excluded from this aspect of my research.

Appendix 6 shows the information I traced regarding the relationship between the ages of mothers and infant mortality. It will be seen that of the sixteen instances of infant mortality in Lydbury North for which I have identified the ages of the mother at time of birth, 80% of them occurred in cases where the mother was aged 31 or above. In eleven of these cases the mother was aged 34 or above. This may suggest that the age of the mother was a significant factor in the structure of infant mortality in the 1890s.

Appendix 6 displays the data that I have collected regarding the relationship between the number of children born to a mother and infant mortality. It will be noted that, taking the two sub-districts combined, I was unable to collect this data in 21 cases out of a possible 59, and that there is, therefore, scope for this aspect of my work to be extended.

In considering this information it is important to bear in mind the difficulty of ascertaining precise data concerning parents who had not produced any children before the case under study. If the parents were married within a few months of the birth, I infer that the child in question was probably their firstborn. However, in cases in which the parents had been married for a longer period, the fact that I may not have traced the birth of a previous child does not necessarily mean that such a birth did not take place. They may have had other children who were baptised or registered elsewhere.

In Lydbury North, of 26 cases in which I have been able to establish family sizes, 7 of them involved families in which the mother had given birth to 6 or more previous children (30%). In fact, these seven cases occurred in two families. The data for Lydbury North contains no known instance of infant mortality where the mother was less than 23 years of age. It should be noted that I have failed to ascertain the ages of the mothers in the two cases of illegitimacy.

In their annual reports, many Medical Officers of Health recommended a programme of education to ensure that women of childbearing age were knowledgeable in matters such as child welfare (e.g., Newman, 1906, p.262). In doing this they attributed infant mortality to widespread ignorance of such matters on the part of mothers. However, my findings show that many mothers had successfully reared other children before experiencing infant mortality, which suggests that often the cause of infant mortality was not a lack of knowledge or expertise. It seems that in expressing such views, Medical Officers of Health were usually airing their bias, rather than stating a conclusion that was arrived at by examination of evidence.

In considering the issue of multiple infant deaths in the same family I managed to identify seven cases in which more than one infant death occurred in the same family. This research was enhanced greatly by my use of church burial records, which enabled me to trace information outside the time-frame of my research; in some cases this is essential if one is to trace families which experienced multiple infant deaths.

The Green family, of Edgton, is of particular interest. This family experienced four cases of infant mortality, two within the period of my study and two before 1891. The Greens had at least five other children, who appear to have survived infancy. The infant deaths occurred in two short periods; two consecutive infants, born in 1880 and 1882, both died. The family then produced three babies who survived infancy, only to encounter the two cases of infant mortality that fell into my research period, in 1892 and 1896. None of the Green infants whose deaths I have traced survived beyond thirteen days; two of them died on the day of their nativity, and one died on the fourth day.

The father of these children was an agricultural Labourer. On the 1891 census the family is shown to be living in a house with only three rooms. It seems apparent that this was a poor family, but before we decide that this was a case of poverty-induced infant mortality we need to consider other factors. Possibly the infant deaths experienced by this family were due to genetic factors?

My data contains one case of the death of a pair of twins – the Corfields – in 1893. The mother of these children was aged 31, and had given birth to at least six previous children over an eleven-year period. All these children were alive at the time of the 1891 census. The father was a labourer.

The birth of twins appears to have been a particularly hazardous experience for mother and children in 1893, especially as skilled care does not seem to have been available for the persons involved. The 1895 MOH Report for Shropshire includes reference to an initiative to train six female midwives, due to a fall in the number of midwives available at that time. A comment was made (p.10) to the effect that a high percentage of deaths had occurred from “accidents of childbirth” in rural districts, as opposed to Urban districts. It is apparent that the authorities were trying to address the problem of lack of skilled care for mothers and infants, but I think that six midwives to cover all the rural areas of Shropshire cannot have provided anything like adequate cover.

In addition to the risks that were involved in giving birth to twins, it should be noted that the Corfields were a large family; it seems likely that they were poor. The same appears to have been true of the Morris family, who had the misfortune to suffer two cases of infant mortality within two years. This family suffered from a number of seemingly inauspicious factors. The mother was aged 38 years when the first known infant death occurred in 1892, and the family already had eight children at that date. Given the fact that the father of this brood was an Agricultural Labourer, I conclude that this family was living in poverty.

I have traced two cases in which a mother and child both died shortly after birth.

John Thomas Anslow and his mother both died in July 1900, being buried at Edgton. The child was eleven days old; his father was a certain Thomas Anslow, who was a Platelayer on the Railway.

May Davies and her mother died in June 1893 and May 1893 respectively. May was a twin, and her mother died within 13 days of the births. May died aged 28 days. Both mother and child were buried at Lydbury North. This case adds weight to the evidence, mentioned above in relation to the Corfield family, of the danger of giving birth to twins in the 1890s.

I assume that Thomas Anslow, mentioned above, must have re-married, because in 1902 he fathered another child. This female child died aged one day, not having been named. It seems uncommonly bad luck for a man to have two children by two different women within two years, only for both of them to die shortly after birth. Possibly this may indicate a genetic cause of infant death – the gene being passed on by the father? Alternatively, this could have been caused by poor living conditions. We should note that Platelayers featured lowly in the occupational hierarchy.

The final case of multiple infant deaths in the same family that I traced occurred in the family of James Arthur Edwards, a Farmer at Broome, Hopesay. Evidence from the Valuation List for Hopesay (1900) shows that James Edwards occupied property that extended to 400 acres. As such, he was a very substantial Farmer, and should, I judge, be regarded as a prosperous man. I wonder why a family such as this should experience two cases of infant mortality within the period 1900-1902? The experience of this family shows that multiple infant mortality in the same family in the late 19 th century was not always due to poverty.

My data for Norbury contains no cases of multiple infant mortality in the same family. I have already mentioned the high proportion of infant deaths that occurred in the families of Farmers, and this is the most striking aspect of this material. Norbury had only one known case of infant mortality in families with six or more previous children and only two identified cases of infant mortality where the mother was aged 34 or over. This different pattern of infant mortality in Norbury, compared to Lydbury North, may be due to a difference between the two sub-districts in the respective number of births to wives of Farmers and Labourers.

Occupational Analysis of Infant Mortality – Variations between Sub-Districts

In treating the occupational make-up of the population in the areas under consideration, I decided not to obtain my data by calculating the sum of the persons living in the area who were employed in the various occupations. I made this decision because I am interested in studying people of child-bearing age, and data obtained in such a way would include people of all ages, many of whom would seem unlikely to be producing children. Additionally, any such information would only relate to 1891, the year of the Census data available to me. In order to obtain relevant information I decided to calculate the proportion of births in the period July 1891 – December 1902 that related to each employment category. I accept that this method does not provide me with data relating to people who did not produce children during my period, but believe that the information gained is more relevant to my project because (a) it relates to child-producing men, and (b) it covers the whole of the period.

The result of this exercise insofar as it relates to Farmers and Labourers is that in Lydbury North 256 births out of a total of 463 were the children of Labourers (55%), whilst 60 infants were born to the wives of Farmers (13%). In comparison, in Norbury, out of a total of 318 births, 114 were the children of Farmers (36%), whilst 67 were the children of Labourers (21%). These findings suggest that the social structures of the two sub-districts were different, at least in respect of people of childbearing age. Although, as I previously mentioned, the IMR for Farmers in Norbury seems to have been unusually high, we need to bear in mind that the overall IMR in Norbury, with its high proportion of resident Farmers, was considerably lower than that for the neighbouring sub-district of Lydbury North , with its high proportion of resident Labourers.

Neo-Natal Mortality related to Social Structure.

The reader will have noted my above findings regarding the differing social structures of the communities of Lydbury and Norbury sub-districts in the 1890s. I think it reasonable to suggest that this may account for the differences in IMRs between the two sub-districts. This indicates that neonatal infant mortality was higher in areas that were less prosperous economically.

The high incidence of infant mortality in the first days after birth suggests to me that poor nutrition of mothers and/or children may have been a significant factor, and this point was treated by Newman (1906, pp. 88-89). I have no information regarding the incidence of premature births in my area and period, but wonder whether this may have been a common occurrence, related to poor nutrition and the hard working life which many of the mothers may well have had to cope with. One may assume that the wives of labourers had a heavy workload, but this may have been equally true of the wives of farmers, many of whom probably worked on their farms.

I mentioned above the comments of the Local Government Board Inspector (1905), which suggest that there must have been a poor standard of cleanliness in the facilities for water supply and sanitation, and it seems likely that these factors would have contributed to neo-natal mortality. I have shown that MOH reports inform us that attempts were being made to address such issues, but progress was slower than the local authorities wished, partly due to local opposition.

The attraction of explanations such as these is that they can account for the existence of infant mortality in communities that appear to have differed substantially in their social make-up. A contaminated water supply may be expected to have affected all people whose supplies originate from the source in question. The disadvantage of these explanations is that it is impossible to prove that they are correct; thus the debate about the nature of late nineteenth century infant mortality, mentioned above, continues!


Whilst I cannot claim to have formulated any new theories about the causes of infant mortality in the late nineteenth century in England & Wales , my results have shown that the highest rates of infant mortality across the area of my research in the period 1891-1902 occurred mainly in poorer families. Additionally, I have shown that the idea that family size was positively related to infant mortality rates is worthy of further examination.

I believe that the most striking aspect of my findings is that although I have treated two sub-districts which are joined to one another, and display a similar rural and geographical character, I identified significant differences between the experiences of infant mortality in each of them. These differences are displayed not only in the different rates of infant mortality in each sub-district, but also the social classification of families who endured the loss of infants, the social make-up of the populations of child-bearing age, and the sizes of the families in which infant deaths occurred. Through my analysis at parish and family level I have shown that these differences did not only apply between the two sub-districts, but also occurred within them.

Whilst the main aim of my work has been to provide a worthwhile contribution to the overall project which I was participating in, I hope that, through this article, my activities have proved of interest to local historians in South Shropshire . Although my work on this research has now ended, I retain an interest in the subject of infant mortality, and would be pleased to hear from anybody who has information relevant to it, either at community or family level.


Appendix 1

Listing of Nominal Information contained in Vaccination Officers’ Births Register

•  Number of entry in Birth Register.

•  Date of Birth

•  Place of Birth

•  Name of Child

•  Sex

•  Name & Surname of the father (or, in cases of illegitimacy, the mother)

•  Rank, Occupation or Profession of the parent

•  Date on which Notice of Vaccination was given

•  To whom Notice of Vaccination was given

•  Date of Medical Certificate of Successful Vaccination

•  Date of Certificate of Insusceptibility or of having had smallpox

•  Name of the medical man by whom the certificate is signed

•  Date of Death in case of child being dead before vaccination

•  Reference to consecutive number in the Officer’s Report Book I cases transferred thereto


Appendix 2

Annual Infant Mortality Rates – Norbury, Lydbury North
and England & Wales, July 1891 – December 1902

Appendix 3

Infant Mortality Project – Births & Deaths Statistics, analysed by location
Norbury & Lydbury North, July 1891 – December 1902.

Births Infant Infant
Deaths Mortality
Norbury 76 5 66
Wentnor 115 9 78
Ratlinghope 59 1 17
More 62 1 16
Myndtown 5 0 0
Total: Norbury Sub-District 317 16 50
Lydbury North 230 19 83
Edgton 54 7 130
Hopesay 181 17 94
Total: Lydbury North Sub-District 465 43 92
Norbury & Lydbury North Sub-Districts Combined
Norbury Sub-District 317 16 50
Lydbury North Sub-District 465 43 92
Total 782 59 75
Note: Infant Mortality Rates, 1902 (Source: MOH Report, Shropshire, 1902):-
England and Wales 133
Shropshire 103
Notes: (a) Infant Mortality Rate = Infant Deaths per 1,000 births.
(b) Locations shown as recorded in Vaccination Registers.

Appendix 4

Appendix 5

Ages of infant deaths analysed by occupation Norbury & Lydbury North, July 1891 – December 1902

Appendix 6

Age of mothers giving birth to children who died in infancy,
analysed by number of previous known births.
Norbury & Lydbury North, July 1891 – December 1902

List of Primary Sources

Note: Locations of Sources are indicated by the number in brackets after the description. See Key at end

1. Vaccination Registers of Births, July 1891-December 1902: –

Norbury Sub-District – Source Ref. PL6/252. (1)
Lydbury North Sub-District , – Source Ref. PL6/250 & PL6/251. (1)

2. Parish Registers of Baptisms, Marriages & Burials for the following Church of England parishes: –

More (1), Norbury (1), Ratlinghope (1), Myndtown (2), Wentnor (3) (all in Norbury Sub-District ).
Edgton (4), Hopesay (1), Lydbury North (4) (all in Lydbury North Sub-District ).

3. Baptism Registers of Bishops Castle & Clun Circuit Primitive Methodists & Wesleyan Methodists, transcribed and held by Dr. M.E.Wilson.

4. Census Enumerators’ Books (1891): –

Norbury, Ref. RG12/25087 (1)
Lydbury North, Ref. RG12/2088. (1)

5. Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health, Clun Sanitary District: –

1889, ref. SC 1/1C 2/8. (5)
1890, ref. SC 1/1C 2/40. (5)
1892, ref. SC1/1C 2/74. (5)
1896, ref. SC 1/1C 2/98. (5)

6. Annual Reports of the Medical Officer of Health, Shropshire County : –

1895, ref. SC1/1C 1/1. (5)
1898, ref. SC1/1C 1/2. (5)
1899, ref. SC1/1C 1/3. (5)
1902, ref. SC1/1C 1/6. (5)

7. Minutes of the Sanitary & Rivers Pollution Committee of Shropshire County Council, 1889-1901, ref. SC5/1A. (5)

8. Dr. Reginald Farrar’s report to the Local Government Board on the sanitary circumstances and administrations of the Clun Rural District, Salop (1905), H.M.S.O.

9. Kelly’s Directory of Shropshire (1): –

1891 & 1900.

10. Rate Book, Lydbury North, 1896, Ref. P177/L/3/80. (1)

11. Valuation List for the Parish of Hopesay, 11th February 1898 , Ref. PL6/278. (1)

12. Annual and Quarterly Returns of Births and Deaths of the Registrar General, 1891-1902.

Key to Locations of Sources

(1)  Shropshire Records & Research Centre, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury , Shropshire

(2) Held in the church at Myndtown, Shropshire . Access was made available to me by Mr.M.Corfield, Churchwarden.

(3) Held at the church at Wentnor. Access was made available to me by Rev. R.T.France

(4) Held at the Church at Lydbury North. Access was made available to me by Rev. A.F.Denyer

(5) Shropshire County Council, Records Management Service, Shirehall, Shrewsbury , Shropshire


Drake, M. & Razzell, P. (1996) The Decline of Infant Mortality in England and Wales 1871-1948: A Medical Conundrum, Interim Report , The Open University.

Lee, C.H., (1991) “Regional inequalities in infant mortality in Britain 1861-1971: patterns and hypotheses ,” Population Studies , 45, pp.56-63.

McKeown, T., Record, R.G., & Turner, R.D. (1975) “An Interpretation of the Decline of Mortality in England and Wales during the Twentieth Century”, Population Studies 29, pp. 391-422.

Newman, G. (1906) Infant Mortality: a social problem , London , Methuen .

Smith, F.B., (1979) The People’s Health, 1830-1910 , Croom Helm

Szreter, S. (1988) “The importance of social intervention in Britain ‘s mortality decline c1850-1914; a re-interpretation of the role of public health”, Social History of Medicine , 1, pp. 1-37.

Woods, R.I., Watterson, P.A., & Woodward, J.H. (1988-1989) “The causes of rapid infant mortality decline in England and Wales, 1861-1921 “, Population Studies 42, pp.343-366 and 43, pp.113-132.

The author wishes to express his thanks to the following people for their assistance with this research project:-

Mrs. Joyce Pinnock, of Norbury, who provided much needed background information, and allowed me to the use of her local history files.

Dr. Margaret Wilson, of Bishops Castle , who provided me with support in her role as my external supervisor.

Published in South-West Shropshire Historical & Archaeological Society Journal No. 9 1998, pp 7-22

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