1840 saw the beginning of the publication of the Registrar-General's Weekly Returns, which made available information on population and health statistics for the first time. From 1839 this was entrusted to William Farr, a pioneer in the field of medical statistics and a defender of the miasma theory of contamination.

Farr, who was a firm believer in the importance of uniform naming and classification in medical statistics, devised a 'nosology' or classification that today has culminated in an internationally agreed statistical classification of diseases, injuries and causes of death. This table also shows the mortality figures from cholera during the 1849 epidemic, alongside the mean temperature.