Early public health practice was predominantly concerned with the environmental factors contributing to ill-health. While doctors, civil servants and legislators all played a role, architects and engineers also made key contributions. For example, Joseph Bazalgette built the London sewer system following the ‘Big Stink’ of 1858 when the Houses of Parliament became so smelly that the members demanded action. In response to politicians’ concerns, his sewer network diverted raw sewage downstream, a masterpiece of engineering which is still admired. The need to provide clean water, clean air and safe food is linked to further discussions of the challenges of climate change/global warming, sustainability and resilience in response to disasters.