“Drowned while … lobster fishing” versus “Run over by a railway wagon”, a rural- urban comparison of cause of, and age at, death; Skye and Kilmarnock 1861-1901

Garrett, E. & Reid, A. (2013) Death in Modern Scotland, 1855: beliefs, attitudes and practices Edinburgh 1-3 Feb 2013.

Other information:

Was the experience of death in urban Scotland different from that in rural areas of the country in the second half of the nineteenth century?

This paper will examine this question using information provided by individual entries in the civil registers of death from the Isle of Skye and the town of Kilmarnock between 1861 and 1901. Levels of, and trends in, mortality will be compared between the two communities, and variations in the causes of death reported, and the age profile of those dying will be considered. The role of doctors in the registration process and the implications of rural-urban differences in medical provision will be discussed.

This paper will conclude by examining how the recording of deaths is influenced by location and factors such as occupational structure and medical provision which vary by location. The implications of this for our understanding of death in urban and rural Scotland more generally will be considered.

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