The Jubilee: Lets cast our minds back…

This coming weekend is the Queens Diamond Jubilee.  It is 60 years HRH Queen Elizabeth II became queen (a year later in 1953 having her coronation).


Weybridge got in the party mood on Saturday 26th May and had a ‘Jubilee Street Party’.  The bunting’s out at the practice too!


All this got me thinking…

What would public health have been like in 1952?

What changes would have been happening within podiatry practice in the 1950s and how different are things from today?

What ‘Big News’ would have been happening in the world of foot health 60 years ago?


Well…for those who sat huddled around their neighbours TV set with friends and watched the 1953 coronation (like my mum), just cast your mind back…


In 1952 the London smog was literally a killer!  As many as 12,000 people may have died (1) in the great London smog of 1952.  The great smog of ’52 lasted only 5 days, though it took many lives.

Healthcare and medicine was developing rapidly and the 1950’s saw the development of penicillin.  With this the term ‘superbug’ springs up, where users of antibiotics find that some bugs have resistant traits.  It was the golden era for the manufacture of synthetic pharmaceuticals also (2).

Podiatrists are able to treat many problems swiftly and effectively through their pharmacological training or professional access to certain medicines, such as local anaesthetics to help treat ingrowing toenails.


We also see the development of the polio vaccine in the early 1950’s (2).

Neurological lower limb conditions are something seen in podiatry practice frequently.  The chronic effects of a poliomyelitis infection of the lower limb and foot is often treated by podiatrists to manage callus and pressure through general maintenance, footwear advice/provision or specialist orthoses.


June 16th to 21st 1952 was Britain’s second National Foot Health Week and was held at the Exhibition Galleries at the Army and Navy Stores SW1.  The purpose of the week was to give the public guidance ‘on foot care and footwear’ (3).


I am pleased that 60 years on foot health education and advice remains integral to our patients successful treatment regimens and is fundamental to us at The Footcare Centre – as it seemed to be our colleagues back in 1952!  Perhaps now, however, we have a few more gadgets and gizmo’s such as Low Level Laser and  video gait analysis!   2012 Bunting probably hasn’t changed that much though!



1)         BBC News

2)         Ethnobotanical World

3)         The British Journal of Nursing News Archive

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