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Disease and epidemic

60 second histories
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A description of the way Dr John Snow removed the handle from the water pump to prove cholera was spread by contaminated water

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You know I never liked the taste of the water from our public water pump but people said water was supposed to have a taste a bit of a colour to it. Well it was after that really terrible cholera epidemic in eighteen fifty three when folks were literally dying in the streets, I saw that Doctor John Snow come around here asking questions about where we got our water from. I told him that I didn’t like the water from our local pump so I always walked to another pump that had better tasting water. He said he believed that the cholera was spread by bad water, even though it was popular belief that the disease was spread through foul air, by what’s called a miasma. But Doctor Snow was convinced it was the water. I thought he was right too. They had tried allsorts to get rid of the bad air, rubbish was cleaned up and barrels of tar were burned in the streets, but as soon as Doctor Snow removed the handle from the pump, people had to get their water from elsewhere and the cholera was stopped, so it was the water after all.
Eras: 
Medicine & Health
Victorian
Topics: 
Medicine & health
Character: 
Victorian woman
Key words: 
Victorian, water, water pump, Dr Snow, Dr John Snow, cholera, soho, london, miasma, rubbish, disease, epidemic, 1853, dirty water,