Francis Cooper was Southampton's first officer of public health. He campaigned for improvements in housing, sanitary conditions, policing, education and health care. He produced a report, The Sanitary Condition of Southampton, and another on the suitability of the site of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital at Netley. From 1842 he was a town councillor, and appointed officer of health in 1850. He was a Methodist and linked to Chartism. He gave important evidence to William Ranger's report into public health in Southampton in 1850. He was probably the editor of the short-lived Southampton Free Press and General Advertiser.
Cooper died in 1865 of cholera during an epidemic of the disease in the town. In his obituary in the Hampshire Independent, the paper notes its "deep regret that in his recent labours and anxieties he did not receive that support which he deserved from those whose duty it was to extend it to him".
- Death of Mr. Francis Cooper - (Hampshire Independent 25/10/1865)
- "Surgeon Cooper who boosted city's health" - (Southern Evening Echo 19/11/1982). Article about Cooper's career.
- Article about Cooper's death (British Medical Journal 04/11/1865).
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