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Medicine and the miner’s body
in Disability in the Industrial Revolution

Focusing in particular on the services provided through workplace 'sick clubs', this chapter examines the development of medical responses to sickness and injury in and around coalmining communities in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. 'Disease' and 'disability' overlapped in medical perceptions of the health of miners. The chapter examines relationships between doctors and coalminers within coalfield communities and asks what medical treatments were available to those who worked in the coal industry. Mining companies and friendly societies subscribed to hospitals and used their rights as subscribers to obtain medical care for sick and injured mineworkers. From a disability perspective, recent work has also challenged a rapid and wholesale shift in the 'medicalisation' of impairment during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The chapter highlights areas where the authority of medical practitioners could be called into question.

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Disability in the Industrial Revolution

Physical impairment in British coalmining, 1780–1880

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