The Grimy 1800s

The Grimy 1800s
Released: 9th October 2019
RRP: £12.99
Introductory Price: £10.39

Publisher: Pen & Sword Books
Author: Andre Gren
Type: Paperback
ISBN: 9781526731401
Pages: 136

Buy from Pen & Sword Books for £10.39

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 is the inspectors’ chronicle: it offers their eye-witness accounts and a plethora of details pertaining to the workings of the scrutinising Parliamentary Committees that were set up in an attempt to ease the struggles against filth. Inspectors battled untreated human excreta in rivers black as ink, as well as insanitary drinking water, which was 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 age of industry.

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