There has been some interest recently in the use of the Bodleian’s Minn Collection of photographs and drawings to illustrate living conditions in Oxford in the 19th century and their impact on public health.
Henry Minn (1870-1961) was an Oxford watchmaker and antiquary. The collection contains photographs by Minn of Oxford City and the University as well as work by other photographers purchased by Minn or presented to him.
Henry Acland (1815-1900), Lee’s Reader in Anatomy at Christ Church from 1845, was appointed Physician to the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1847. He took a leading role in efforts to control the outbreak of cholera that affected Oxford in 1854, laying down procedures for the distribution of medicines, cleaning and destruction of clothing, and nursing. His Memoir on the cholera at Oxford in the year 1854, with considerations suggested by the epidemic, published in 1856, identifies poor drainage and the discharge of sewage into rivers as its main causes. He remained very much concerned with public health and sanitation throughout his career, promoting improvements in the water supply and sanitation of Oxford and serving on the Royal Sanitary Commission from its establishment in 1869 until 1872.
MS. Minn 229, fol. 45
Photo by Hills & Saunders
This photograph from the collection shows the yard of the Clarendon Hotel, Oxford, in 1863. The hotel stood on a site in Cornmarket Street, now the Clarendon Shopping Centre.
In 1857 Acland was appointed Regius Professor of Medicine. He retired in 1894. The Bodleian Library holds his papers and papers of other members of the Acland family.
Incidentally, the Minn Collection includes photographs by Sarah Acland (1849-1930), daughter of Sir Henry and a prominent photographer. She gave her collection to Minn in 1920.