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Jewish Immigrant Health and Welfare in Glasgow, 1860-1914

Foreword by The Chief Rabbi

Kenneth Collins

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Subject: Scottish History
Demy octavo
Illustrated: 8 p plate section
Approx 160 pages
ISBN: 1 86232 129 9
Paperback 12.99

There were many health problems in Victorian Glasgow. Infectious diseases were common amid slum conditions and poverty. The enlarging city drew immigrants from all over Scotland, from Ireland and from Continental Europe. This book looks at the response of the Jewish community in Glasgow to its health problems and the complex community based welfare infrastructure it created. There was am emphasis on self-help and enabling the immigrants to become financially independent. The book shows how trachoma came to be perceived as an immigrant disease and how it was used as an issue in the attempt to control Jewish immigration. The book also examines the competition for bodies and souls between Jewish and Christian missionary welfare bodies in the Gorbals. It looks at the experience of Jewish patients in the psychiatric hospitals using contemporary case records to illustrate attitudes to mental illness and to the Jewish immigrants. It also shows the first moves by the immigrant Jews themselves to take advantage of the educational opportunities in Glasgow and become doctors themselves. By concentrating on one Jewish community and looking at all aspects of its health and welfare, the author builds up a picture of all the complex health and welfare issues at play in Glasgow, a great Victorian industrial society with its own social and medical problems.

Author: Kenneth Collins practises as a GP in Glasgow and is a Research Fellow of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Glasgow.