The Scottish Scurvy Epidemic of 1847

This paper examines the emergence of scurvy in several parts of Lowland Scotland during 1847. At first the condition was not recognised because of a mistaken, persistent belief that scurvy was only seen at sea, despite the work of James Lind who showed that sea and land scurvy were one and the same. Professor Christison failed initially to recognise the disease and wrongly thought it was caused by a lack of milk in the diet; colleagues elsewhere correctly attributed scurvy to the loss of the potato in the diet of the poor.