References and notes

 1. This account of Farr's early life is based upon a biographical sketch by Noel Humphreys, who worked with Farr in the Registrar-General's office from 1856 and made use of an autobiographical fragment begun by Farr himself in 1833; the sketch was published in a memorial volume of Farr's works by the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, in 1885, a copy of which is held in the library of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. See following note for details of publisher.

 2. Vital Statistics, a Memorial Volume of Selections from the Reports and Writings of William Farr, London: Sanitary Institute, 1885: xi. (Reprinted New York: Scarecrow Press, 1975).

 3. Farr received numerous honorary degrees, including one from Oxford in 1857, after which he was known as Dr Farr.

 4. Thomas Wakley (1795-1862), surgeon, Member of Parliament for Finsbury, campaigner for medical reforms and for unadulterated food.

 5. Lancet, 14 November 1835: 240-5; 13 February 1836: 773-80; 16 April 1836: 109-10px; 10 February 1838: 701-4; 22 September 1838: 26-9.

 6. Chadwick's letter, dated 13 April 1844, making this claim is quoted in Vital Statistics (op. cit. ref. 2): viii.

 7. Registrar-General's First Annual Report, 1838: xiv; the library of the Office for National Statistics, Pimlico, London SW1, contains all the annual reports.

 8. Weatherall M, describes Heberden's work in Cambridge Contributions, Medical Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997:28-9.

 9. The letter, drafted by Farr, is quoted in the Registrar-General's First Annual Report, pp. 11-12.

10. First Annual Report, p. 95, contains Farr's first "statistical nosology", which was modified in subsequent reports as diseases were distinguished more clearly.

11. First Annual Report, pp.95, 122.

12. Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964: vol. VI, p. 1090.

13. Parliamentary Papers, 1846: vol. 10, p.651, Chadwick's evidence.

14. Fifth Annual Report of the Registrar-General, 1842, appendix, pp. 206-7.

15. Tenth Annual Report of the Registrar-General, 1847: xv.

16. Ibid: xvii.

17. Cook GC. Joseph William Bazalgette (1819-1891): a major figure In the health improvements of Victorian London. J Med Biog 1999;7:17-24; Halliday S. The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis. Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1999.

18. Wohl AS. Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian Britain. London: Methuen, 1984: 119.

19. Pelling M. Cholera, Fever and English Medicine, 1825-65. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978: 60.

20. The cholera bacillus was definitively identified by Robert Koch in India in 1883.

21. Over 37,000 deaths in London from cholera were recorded in four epidemics; see also Farr's records in the aunual reports of the Registrar-General for 1849, 1854, 1866.

22. Lancet, 12 November 1831:216.

23. Lancet, 22 October 1853:393-4.

24. The Times, 12 September 1849: 3, cols 3-4; 12 September: 4, cols 2-3.

25. Pelling M (op. cit. ref. 19):141.

26. Parliamentary Papers, 1844: vol.17, p.50.

27. Builder, 1 February 1890:78-9.

28. Now renamed Broadwick Street and the site of a memorial to John Snow.

29. Dictionary of Scientific Biography. New York: American Council of Learned Societies, 1975: vol.12, p.503.

30. Parliamentary Papers, 1854-5: vol.21, p. 16 (see also pp. 26-31for the Committee's explanations).

31. Ibid.: 48.

32. Ibid.: 161.

33. Ibid.: Appendix 4, Report on Golden Square, pp.155-61.

34. Ibid.: 52.

35. Ibid.: 48.

36. Seventeenth Annual Report of the Registrar-General, 1854: appendix, pp.91-9.

37. Parliamentary Papers, 1867-8: vol.37, p.88.

38. The Times, 2 August 1866:10.

39. Narrative of proceedings of the General Register Office during the Cholera Epidemic of 1866. Parliamentary Papers, 1867-8: vol. 37, p.95.

40. Ibid.: 117.

41. Ibid.: 102

42. Parliamentary Papers, 1867: vol.58, pp. 14-15.

43. Parliamentary Papers, 1867-8: vol. 37, p.61.

44. Ibid.: 79-80

45. Twenty-Ninth Annual Report of the Registrar-General, 1869:iv.

46. Lancet, 15 August 1868:223.

47. Lancet, 5 May 1883:800-1, Farr's obituary.

48. Vital Statistics (op. cit. ref. 2):555.

49. Lancet, 5 May 1883:800.

50. Fortieth Annual Report of the Registrar-General, 1877: xi

51. Lancet, 5 May 1883:800.

52. Leone Levi (1821-1888), Professor of Commerce at King's College, London, prolific writer on law, commerce and statistics; vice-president of the Statistical Society.

53. The Times, 23 April 1883:10.

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