King's College London
Online Exhibitions
Coming to London

Sanitation

 drawing of Michael Faraday in the bow of a boat holding his nose while presenting a card to the Thames presented as a dirty and hairy figure holding along a dirty staff emerging from the waterFaraday and Father Thames ('the Dirty Fellow')The absence of adequate sanitation was an exceptional public health problem before the monumental construction in the 1860s of London's modern sewerage network and the embankment of the Thames by Joseph Bazalgette.

Outbreaks of infectious disease were common in the parishes served by the Hospital.

One medical student, Archibald Reid, later a surgeon during the Crimean War, recalled being kept awake at night in his rooms near the Hospital by the 'tap tap' of the hammers in the neighbouring undertakers who were working around the clock to meet the demand for victims of cholera.

Students and schoolboys in the school were assailed by violent smells from the makeshift sewers and dissecting rooms, so much so that the Headmaster wrote to complain to the College Principal in February 1843, asking him to 'give a hint to the Dissecting Department that the stench has been offensive for the last day or two'.

ARCHIOS™ | Total time:0.1626 s | Source:cache