The major urban infrastructure that smelt it, dealt it
April 20, 2008 6:01 AM Subscribe
"Stench of manure engulfs London."
posted by Countess Elena (19 comments total)
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When I saw this headline, my first thought was: what, again?
The "Great Stink" of 1858 was a particularly intense manifestation of London's ancient drainage problems. The Thames had always reeked,
but that summer, the stench was so horrendous that the windows of Parliament were covered with curtains soaked in cleaning solution so that business could continue.
The city's drainage infrastructure (such as it was) suffered from an upsurge in raw sewage, caused by the adoption of flush toilets
(water closets) without any corresponding modern sewer system. Not only was the smell constant and oppressive, doctors considered it to be actively dangerous. Under the miasma theory of disease, "bad air" or poisonous gases were considered infectious; the smell of filth was believed to be a vector for cholera. Previously.
(Can any Mefites in London report on the smell? Does it deserve a front-page CNN article? The article says it's an agricultural odor. I'm from farm country, and on a few days in my hometown, the wind carries a strong smell out from the fields, leaving one with the feeling that if you lit a match, the air would explode. It's like driving past a paper mill
, without getting to actually drive past.)