You can find the original Wikipedia article here . Let’s get started!
The Great Stink was an event in central London in July and August 1858 during which the hot weather exacerbated the smell of untreated human waste and industrial effluent that was present on the banks of the River Thames.
Pretty neat, all the article summed up in the first sentence. But we aren’t here to stop at the beginning, let’s continue know that you now what the Great Stink.
The authorities accepted a proposal from the civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette… blah blah blah
Shitting somewhere else except the river wasn’t a solution? Like in a bookstore how this article describes.
Because of the fear that the miasma from the sewers would cause the spread of disease, Chadwick and his successor, the pathologist John Simon, ensured that the sewers were regularly flushed through, a policy that resulted in more sewage being discharged into the Thames.
Yeah, that’s a smart solution from some smart boys. Flushing sewers in Thames, what could go wrong?
The press soon began calling the event “The Great Stink”; the leading article in the City Press observed that “Gentility of speech is at an end—it stinks, and whoso once inhales the stink can never forget it and can count himself lucky if he lives to remember it”.
Now here comes the press, calling “lucky” the people who smelled it. The poor people who’s noses where penetrated by a myriad of tiny particles that disintegrated from human dejection. Or put in other words, those who smelled the stink of shit.
The prevailing thought in Victorian healthcare concerning the transmission of contagious diseases was the miasma theory.
This was a true thing for that times. People used to think that diseases transmitted by bad smells. Read this little poem I composed for you:
There is a bad smell in the air, FRICK!
If you smell it, you’ll get sick.
I’m really serious about it please,
If you smell it you’ll get a damn disease.
Thanks, thanks, I know I’m a born poet.
The real hero that stopped all this mess was Joseph Bazalgette
As chief engineer of London’s Metropolitan Board of Works his major achievement was the creation (in response to the Great Stink of 1858) of a sewer network for central London which was instrumental in relieving the city from cholera epidemics, while beginning the cleansing of the River Thames.
As John Doxat puts it, the guy saved more lives than any single Victorian official. Hats down for him!
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