Glossop Heritage Trust

Dr E H Marcus Milligan, Glossop's first full-time Medical Officer of Health.

The Obituary of Dr Milligan below was taken from a cutting from the Glossop Chronicle of 26 March 1954.

Dr Milligan
Death of Dr. E. H. M. Milligan

He started health revolution at Glossop

DR. E. H. MARCUS MILLIGAN, an Irishman, who will always be remembered as the man who started a health revolution in his adopted town of Glossop, died on Sunday at the age of 75. He had been admitted to the Ashton General Hospital a few days previously after having spent a period at his home, Daisy Bank, Hadfield, following an operation in the same hospital.

Dr. Milligan became Glossop's first full-time medical officer of health in 1920. He arrived in the town with returning holiday crowds at the end of August, and in later years, would recall how he marvelled that day for he had never seen a Wakes crowd on the move.

He leaves a widow and three daughters.

That day in 1920 commenced a health revolution in the town, a revolution that has gone on ever since, and the man behind it was Dr. Milligan.

Mothers grateful

This week hundreds of mothers have been saddened by the news of his death and have remembered with gratitude the work of Dr. Milligan for their children. Other people will recall memories of a good friend with a sense of humour who could send a company rocking with laughter. Dr. Milligan came or a distinguished Irish literary family. He used to say that one of his greatest difficulties in his early days at Glossop was to understand the dialect and that some remarks had to be interpreted to him.

By his efforts to evolve new schemes to make Glossop people healthy, Dr. Milligan put Glossop on the map.

And he did this in another way as well, for he was co-author with his solicitor son-in-law of several broadcast plays.

Dr. Milligan’s reputation in medical circles extended throughout the country, and he wrote articles on many branches of the profession.

Hopes for peace

Dr. Milligan was convinced that children on the whole fared at least as well in health in war-time as in pre-war times. He praised the Ministry of Food, Ministry of Health, and those nutritionists who battled for the distribution of food according to nutritional needs. He always hoped that there would be greater achievements by similar methods during "the abundance of peace."

He said in 1944: “The Board of Education should insist on the regular analysis—paid for by them—of school dinners as regards vitamin, mineral and protein content, and on appropriate action in cases of deficiency. The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Food should see that dietary surveys are made, with the correlation of their findings with the physical condition of the children. Here, again, appropriate action should be pressed for where defects are found.

"It is in dietetic safeguards of this sort, associated with a State medical service integrated with the public health service, that the way to progressive improvement in children’s health lies.”

In 1944 vitamin feeding tests were carried out on schoolchildren in Glossop, Ipswich and London. Dr. Milligan was one of the five joint authors of the Report on the tests.

Conclusions were that it seemed that vitamin pills or capsules do not do a child any appreciable amount of good unless that child suffers from a definite lack of vitamins. In Glossop 370 boys, aged nine to 13 were chosen for the tests. The proportion of Glossop children who were deficient in vitamins worked out at 35 per cent.

It was in such ways as this that Dr. Milligan’s reputation grew. His annual reports usually had valuable comment on so many topics—the feeding of school children was of great interest to him, and he provided much data on the nutrition of children.

Ernest Henry Marcus Milligan was buried in grave number 4779 at Glossop Cemetery on 24th March 1954.

The following newspaper articles provide a flavour of the pioneering work undertaken by Dr Milligan and the way that Glossop was put on the map as a result.

Manchester Evening News, 18 October 1941.
Derbyshire Town to Test Vitamins
U.S. Capsules for 500 Children

GLOSSOP, Derbyshire market town (pop. 19,510), the smallest borough in the country to have its own chief constable, is one of the three places in the country i chosen to carry out a vitamin experiment on schoolchildren.
Nearly 500 under-fourteens there are to take a course of special vitamin capsules which America has sent to this country. The health of these children will then be compared with those who have not had the capsules.
A similar test is being carried out on 500 London elementary school children.
Start Next Week
The experiment will probably start next week and the capsules be given out in schools. Parents’ permission will first be obtained, but the children will be picked at random.
The Ministry of Health and Board o£ Education have given instructions on the scheme, which will be carried out by Glossop’s Medical Officer, Dr. E. H. M. Milligan.
It is understood that the capsules contain several different vitamins, and that it is impossible to buy them in this country.

Newcastle Evening Chronicle 11 March 1942
Food Charter For Children
Doctor’s five point plan
From Our Special Correspondent

A five-point food charter for children in wartime has been evolved by Dr. E. H. M. Milligan, Medical Officer of Health for Glossop. Derbyshire. Here it is: (1) Adoption as far as possible during the war of the League of Nations’ dietary standards for children. (2) School meals with at least one generous meal a day compulsory in all elementary and secondary schools. (3) Whey, a by-product in cheese-making, to be salvaged for the use of children, as containing the milk protein lactalbumen, the greatest body-building food. (4) The working of school allotments on an adequate scale as part of the routine in all schools other than infant schools. (5) The impoverishment of foods by refining to be prohibited.
Value of Peanuts.
Dr. Milligan states in the “Medical Press and Circular” that weight for weight peanuts contain as much protein, 28 times as much fat, double as much lime and 50 per cent, more vitamin B than even wholemeal flour, and can produce more than 50 per cent, albumen in the body.
“What a superlatively fine food we could have.” he declares, “in the whey-nut slab, which would combine all the nourishing qualities of the peanut with the most efficient of all proteins, the lactalbumen of whey.”
He urges that at least twice a year the weights and heights of children should be taken and suitable strength and endurance tests given, with advice about diets.

Manchester Evening News, 22 February 1943.
They Have Got To Eat Toffee At This School.
By a Special Correspondent

Sixty Glossop schoolchildren to-morrow start chewing their way to health. With their mid-morning cup of milk they will be given two ounces of coupon-free toffee specially made for them from peanuts and whey.
Their health record over a year will then be compared with that of 30 children who do not have the toffee.
The scheme had its origin a year ago when the Medical Officer of Health for Glossop, Dr. E. H. M. Milligan, wrote for the “Medical Press and Circular” an article advocating the salvage of whey - a by-product in cheese making - for children. It is wasteful, he said, not to make use of the greatest body-builder we have.
As a result, a London firm experimented and produced toffee made from whey and peanuts which are also a valuable food.
Glossop, which was one of the three towns in the country chosen to carry out vitamin experiments on schoolchildren, will he the first place to hold the Toffee Test. Others may adopt it later.
“With a glass of milk the toffee provides an ideal supplementary meal,” Dr. Milligan told the Manchester Evening News to-day.

Manchester Evening News, 3 August 1943.
Doctor’s Play About His Own Town
GLOSSOP girls and youths, who, during their school career said “Ah . . . h . . h” many times for Doctor E. H. M. Milligan, the Medical Officer of Health, have more interesting words to say for him tomorrow night.
They are producing in Shrewsbury-street School, Glossop, a play, “The Mayor Chooses a Wife,” which he wrote in collaboration with Mr. A. V. Williams, a former municipal employee.
It tells the story of a young man who writes from Canada to the Mayor of his native town asking him to find a wife for him.
The town is their own town. Glossop. and Dr. Milligan told the Manchester Evening News to-day, “if these boys and girls are interested in drama I think they should start by doing plays about the type of people and the p[aces they know”.
The play was first broadcast by the B.B.C. from North Regional a few years ago, and has been specially adapted for this stage presentation by Dr. Milligan, who has also had two more plays broadcast - a second from North Regional and another from Northern Ireland.

Manchester Evening News 10 April 1944
Babies Thrive on War-time Dietary
By Our London Correspondent

A MEDICAL survey of war-time babies in the Glossop area reveals that boy babies have grown more rapidly than they did before the war. They also became heavier and taller than their pre-war brethren, even though handicapped by commencing life lighter and shorter. Girl babies born in the war years were taller.
Commenting that investigations in the Glossop area reveal that “children, as a whole, have fared at least as well in health in war-time as in pre-war times,” Dr. E. H. M. Milligan. Medical Officer for Health, writing in the Medical Press and Circular pays tribute to the Ministries of Food and Health.
Describing this as a “remarkable achievement” he says: " I personally take my hat off to the Ministry of Food, the Ministry of Health, and to those nutritionists who battled for the distribution of food according to nutritional needs and got the extra milk, eggs and vitamin concentrates for expectant and nursing mothers and infants.
Protein Foods
If things like this can be accomplished during the restrictions of war what might not be achieved by similar methods during the abundance of peace?
In the early years of the war Dr. Milligan says that an investigation ol 123 local schoolboys revealed a serious deterioration in their physical condition, especially manifested in a great decrease in their endurance capacity. This was found to be caused by a lack of first-class protein.
Describing the improved situation in 1943, Dr. Milligan states: “The arrival of Lease-lend foodstuffs in large quantities from the United States of America in the early summer of 1941 completely changed the picture (as compared with the winter of 1940-41), the improvement being particularly marked in respect to good protein foods.'

Manchester Evening News, 14 September 1945.
3-Year Test Shows Public School Boys Tallest-Biggest 21lbs Heavier at Age of Fourteen
Doctor E. H. M. Milligan, Medical Officer of Health for Glossop.,who three years ago started tests on the respective weights and heights of public schoolboys and elementary schoolboys and the reaction on height and weight of boys whose diets vary in nutritional value, has announced his conclusions in a report.
He says that statistics prove that elementary schoolboys are smaller than public schoolboys.
Protein Shortage
Nine-year-old public schoolboys are 11 pounds heavier and three inches taller than elementary schoolboys, at 11 they are 16 pounds heavier and four inches taller and at 14 they are 21 pounds heavier and four inches taller.
“Shortage of proteins and calories retarded some of the boys’ growth,” he records.
Co-operation between medical officers and private doctors to begin surveys and tests and to introduce and emphasise the importance of proper dietetic habits is one point stressed in the report.
Nutrition Clinics
If another suggestion is adopted Glossop Education Authority will shortly have nutrition clinics for children, with a staff dietician linked with the University Research Department.
Dr. Milligan is a well-known agitator against the deficiency of vitamins in children’s diets.
He once said. “Children aged one to two get only about two- thirds of their requirements in animal protein, calcium, and vitamin B1. Children aged five to six lacking these supplements get barely half as much first-class protein calcium and vitamin C as they need.”

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