Blog 2: A clean city is a modern city: Dublin in the 19th Century (Shauna O Brien- 113545727)

Picture 1 Source: Census national archive (RSAI, DDC, no. 44)

Picture 1: Picture of 3 small children at Faithful place, off Lower Tyrone Street showing the  poor street conditions in Dublin in the 19th century.
Source: Census national archive (RSAI, DDC, no. 44)

Dublin in the 19th Century was largely over populated which meant poor living conditions and poverty was a part of everyday life. Dirt, disease and death were prevalent and the spread of diseases such as Cholera and  Tuberculosis, from filthy, inadequate hygiene and close living proximity was becoming a serious problem for the people of Dublin.

A Public Health committee was set up in Dublin in 1866. Sanitary Sub officers were given the job to inspect the people of Dublin’s personal hygiene and living conditions in their homes as it was becoming more and more important in combating and preventing the spread of disease

Picture 3. Sanitary sub officers of the corporation of Dublin 1909 Source: Dublin City Council (DD002)

Picture 2. Sanitary sub officers of the corporation of Dublin 1909
Source: Dublin City Council (DD002)

In May 1885, William Meagher, Lord Mayor of Dublin, opened the city’s first municipal baths on Tara Street. Hot and cold baths were offered to men and women so that they could keep themselves clean and disease free.

Picture 2. Men in the Dublin Corporation Baths and Wash Houses, Tara Street, 1912 Source: Dublin City Council (DD032 )

Picture 3. Men in the Dublin Corporation Baths and Wash Houses, Tara Street, 1912
Source: Dublin City Council (DD032 )

Public toilets were also introduced around this time. In 19th century Ireland not all homes had toilets and so the streets were a dumping ground for chamber pots. People had to walk or cycle around the city and therefore took longer to travel from one place to another. Many businesses such as Cafes and Shops did not offer their facilities to the public and so toilets were constructed to help maintain the streets sanitary conditions.

Picture 4. a urinal on the Ormond Quay, Dublin in 1969 Source: National library of Ireland

Picture 4. a urinal on the Ormond Quay, Dublin in 1969
Source: National library of Ireland

The advent of both the bath house and the public toilet played significant roles in improving the quality of the streets and  the experience of those who lived in Dublin during this time. Personal hygiene meant that people were now much healthier and more aware of how to behave in a clean and controlled city and modernity is an inevitable process which follows.

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