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The Grimy 1800s - Waste Sewage & Sanitation in Nineteenth Century Britain - cover

The Grimy 1800s - Waste Sewage & Sanitation in Nineteenth Century Britain

André Gren

Publisher: Pen & Sword History

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Summary

Chronicles of the filth, foulness, and public health disasters found by “inspectors of nuisances” in a newly industrialized world.   In the nineteenth century, as towns grew, Britain became increasingly grimy. The causes of dirt and pollution were defined legally as “nuisances” and, in 1835, the new local authorities very rapidly appointed an army of “inspectors of nuisances.”   This book reveals the Victorian era from a very different point of view: it offers the inspectors’ eyewitness accounts and details the workings of the Parliamentary Committees that were set up in an attempt to ease the struggle against filth. Inspectors battled untreated human excreta in rivers black as ink, as well as unsanitary drinking water, home to tadpoles and portions of frogs so large that they blocked taps. They dealt with putrid animal carcasses in cattle markets and slaughterhouses, not to mention the unabated smoke from mill chimneys that covered towns with a thick layer of black grime. Boggle Hole Pond was a source of drinking water full of dead dogs; ice cream was coated in bugs; stinking rotting crabs, poultry, and pigeon smells polluted the air. Even the corpses floating out of badly drained burial grounds were “nuisances,” leading to the practice of burning the remains of the dead.   This is the history of a grimy century in the throes of the Industrial Revolution, illustrating the many ways in which the country responded to the ever growing demands of a new world.

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