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A Timeline

1831 Cholera arrives in the country for the first time. The first victim is Ellen Hazard, a 12 year old from Sunderland.
1835 Municipal Corporations Act passed, reforming local government. From now on, local government will consist of councillors elected by local ratepayers.

Royal Commission into the Employment of Children in Mines. The findings of this report scandalise the country and lead to the Mines Act of the same year. This Act prohibits women, girls and boys under the age of ten from working underground.

Edwin Chadwick's Enquiry into the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Britain reveals that the drainage, sewerage and sanitation provision in industrial areas is woefully inadequate.

1844 The first coal mine is opened near Crook by Messrs Pease and partners. More pits are opened in the 1850s and 1860s.
1845 Crook is established as a separate parish.

Irish potato famine. Failure of the potato crop results in widespread famine. Thousands die and large numbers are forced to emigrate.


Public Health Act passed which allows local boards of health to be set up and local medical officers to be appointed. The provisions are not popular with ratepayers and little changes.

Second outbreak of cholera.

1851 The 1851 Census reveals that 3,946 people are resident in Crook.
1853 Third outbreak of cholera.
1854 Dr John Snow makes the connection between the outbreak of cholera and contaminated water supplies.
1857 First Ordnance Survey map for the area around Durham is published.
1861 The 1861 Census shows that Crook has 5,800 residents.
1868 Artisans' and Labourers' Dwellings Act passed. This allows local authorities to force owners to demolish or repair insanitary housing.
1870 The Education Act is passed. School is made compulsory for all children between the ages of 5 and 13. School fees could be charged but poor parents were exempted from paying.
1872 Public Health Act makes the appointment of medical officers compulsory and permits sanitary authorities to be established.
1875 A further Public Health Act is passed which gives sanitary authorities the power to enforce sanitary regulations.
1880 A further Education Act is passed. Attendance at school is made compulsory between the ages of 5 and 10 but children over that age could attend part-time if they had reached a certain standard.
1881 The Census of 1881 finds that 11,098 people are resident in Crook.
1891 The population of Crook has now risen to 11,430 according to the 1891 Census.
1897 The second edition of the Ordnance Survey for the area around Durham is published showing the huge expansion that has taken place in many of the towns and villages.
1901 Crook's population is now 11,471.
1902 Education Act is passed. This Act establishes Local Education Authorities and allows them to provide secondary education.