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Public Health: open sewers

 These illustrations are from 1858 — the 'Year of the Great Stink' — and 1859. They show that there was concern about the River Thames being used as an open sewer. The concern was part of the campaign to improve public health.

The London Bathing Season (Punch, 18 June 1859)

"Come, my dear! - come to its Old Thames, and have a Nice Bath!"

Father Thames is shown trying to coax a climbing boy in to his water for a bath. Father Thames drips with a slow slime and on his back is the usual mangled kettle and dead cat. All around him are the dead animals floating on the surface of the sluggish water. Not unreasonably, the climbing boy holds his nose and does not relish the prospect of entering the filthy water of the Capital's river.

Faraday giving his card to Father Thames (Punch 21 July 1855)

Father Thames introducing his offspring (Diphtheria, Scrofula and Cholera) to the fair city of London (Punch, 3 July 1858)


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Last modified 26 October, 2013

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