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Biologists in Search of Material


A SMALL company of private individuals established what they described as a “Pioneer Health Centre” in April 1926 in a small house in Peckham, London. It was situated in the middle of a densely populated artisan district, and staffed with a resident medical officer, a social secretary and a housekeeper. Families living in the neighbourhood were invited to join a 'family club' for a small weekly sum, in return for which they were offered a periodic medical and dental overhaul for each individual, a parents' clinic with men and women doctors, ante-natal, post-natal and infant welfare clinics, and to these were added an orthopædic clinic and a children's afternoon nursery. The service offered to each family was advisory. No disease received treatment at the centre. Its objects were inquiry, social and medical investigation, to evoke a desire for health, to detect and direct attention to the beginnings of disease, and to give advice as to how to procure necessary and effective treatment. After several years' experience, an explanatory book was issued entitled “The Case for Action”(1931), and now a report is published, under a rather formidable and ambiguous appellation, of the principal findings.

Biologists in Search of Material

An Interim Report of the Work of the Pioneer Health Centre, Peckham. Pp. 104. (London: Faber and Faber, 1938.) 2s. net.

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Biologists in Search of Material. Nature 142, 134–135 (1938).

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