Infant mortality in three East Midland towns: similarities and differences, 1890-1910

By Dr Denise Amos


The centenary of the 1906 publication of Infant Mortality: A Social problem by George Newman saw a collection of essays highlighting the interest in infant mortality both now and in the past. In the introduction the editors hoped that the chapters would excite and inspire further research into this ‘intricate problem’. This article has examined three Midland boroughs during the height of the problem of infant mortality (1890-1910). Some research into the causes of infant mortality in two of the boroughs, Nottingham and Derby had been undertaken but a comparative approach had not been carried out. It was, therefore, considered that such an approach could be undertaken and to also include Leicester as this would include the three main urban areas in the East Midlands. This research has shown that the causes of infant mortality in the three boroughs were varied and operated at a local level and that there is no one single reason to account for the deaths. There has been minimal research on the three towns and so the present findings increase the knowledge of factors influencing infant mortality.