Planning by public authorities was first used as a tool for improving the health of the working population in the Victorian era due to epidemics,cramped housing habitation and water contamination.
Sir Edwin Chadwick's report 'The Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population', published in 1842, sparked a raft of legislation aimed at improving living conditions.
The Victorians reasoned that improved health for the workers would enable them to work harder and reduce the cost of supporting an unhealthy population.
Gradually local authorities took responsibility for providing clean water, and the removal of sewage and refuse.
New and rebuilt housing was required to have adequate drainage, toilet facilities and an ash pit, and builders had to submit details of these provisions to the local authority before they started work.
By 1875, acts of Parliament had been passed to tackle the problem of overcrowded housing.