Film of the Month - Health Before the NHS: The Road to Recovery

This is a publically contributed event and not a council event. If you would like, you can submit your own event and have it appear on our website (subject to review).


article thumb - Patient receiving ultra-violet treatment for thinning hair, Public Health Centre, Bermondsey. c.1937

Patient receiving ultra-violet treatment for thinning hair, Public Health Centre, Bermondsey. c.1937

A film about what health care was like in the UK before the NHS.


Starts: Friday 10:00
Ends: Thursday 19:00

Event Details

Address:211 Borough High Street

Post code:SE1 1JA


Telephone:020 7525 0232

Open hours: Monday 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Tuesday 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Wednesday CLOSED
Thursday 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Friday 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Saturday 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.


At the beginning of the last century life expectancy in England was age 48 and for every 1000 babies born around 150 died before their 1st birthday. Maternal deaths were as high as they were in the mid-1800s. Healthcare was expensive and unaffordable for most people and costs differed depending on where you lived. There was no cohesive system for health care and each area of the country dealt with care in their own way with ordinary people, GPs, midwives and other health professionals coping with sickness and disease at home and in their communities. Through fascinating archive footage, testimonies from medical professionals and ordinary people who experienced health care before World War Two and the experiences of their ancestors, this programme looks at what health care was like and the different health systems that were adopted by public health bodies around the country before the creation of the NHS. It also explains the difficulties faced by public health departments across the country particularly in the interwar years and how health insurance schemes were set up to help those on low incomes were started. The programme features the work of the Bermondsey Borough Council and their sanitary surveillance to curb Cholera, typhus and smallpox with their message of ‘prevention is better than cure’. It also features the work of the Pioneer Health Service in Peckham which started in the 1920s and whose emphasis was the creation of a holistic family village that could enhance the wellbeing of its users whilst simultaneously researching their health. ©BBC/Available Light Productions, 2012. Film of the Month is free to users for private or research purposes only.


By Bus:21, 35, 40, 133, C10, 343

By Tube:Borough

By Train:London Bridge


Access for wheelchair usersAccess for wheelchair users

Disability trainingDisability training

Level access toiletLevel access toilet

Positive about disabledPositive about disabled

Seat availableSeat available