Edwin Chadwick (1800–1890) was the principal architect of the Sanitary Reform movement in Britain in the nineteenth century; his influence on the philosophy of public health and its translation into legislation was profound. Born near Manchester to a family of Wesleyan landowners, Chadwick was raised in London and trained in law. His father, James, had edited a radical journal, the Spectator. Following the appearance of some of his own writings in the Westminster Review, Edwin came to the attention of two of the leading philosophers and social theorists of the early eighteenth century, Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Chadwick served as Bentham's literary secretary from 1830 until the latter's death in 1832, the year in which Chadwick was appointed to the new Poor Law Commission. In that role, his industry in investigating the conditions under which the poor lived, as well as his "knowledge of law,… infinite capacity for taking pains over details, and his skill in marshalling the facts" (Marston 1925, p. 23) led him to exert a steadily greater influence on British public policy in a variety of areas relating to public health.
His advocacy led to the 1836 act that established a registry for births and deaths, and to the 1848 Public Health Act establishing a central board of health. He also influenced legislation on factories, child labor, and water supplies. He served as secretary to the Poor Law Board, and as a member of the first board of health (1848–1852). His sanitary philosophy, most fully explicated in his Enquiry
Jones, D. (1931). Edwin Chadwick and the Early Public Health Movement in England, Vol. 9: University of Iowa Studies in the Social Sciences. Iowa City: University of Iowa.
Marston, M. (1925). Sir Edwin Chadwick. London: Leonard Parson.