The Centre for Water Cultures Seminar Series - Seminar No 4
Water Cultures spring seminar series - Water, Crisis, and Disease in Victorian London: Responses to the Great Stink of 1858.
Renae Dyball, History, University of Hull
London’s economic status as a global city has given it a unique position in the outcome of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The ‘shock’ of Brexit – ‘shock’ here being used to refer to an event which prompted major development and change – will influence the city’s role in the global economy and how institutions within London respond to social and economic challenges in the future. By comparing London’s responses to a selection of historical shocks and evaluating how they influenced the city’s development across time, this may suggest how effective the city’s responses to Brexit will be.
This seminar will focus on one of these historical shocks, the Great Stink of 1858, during which the water pollution of the Thames combined with an unusually hot summer to produce a repulsive smell which emanated from the river. In this seminar, Renae Dyball will explore how the responses to this crisis contributed to the development and improvement of London’s hygiene and infrastructure through the construction of Joseph Bazalgette’s sewers and other policies which improved the sanitation of the overcrowded city.
Renae Dyball is part of the History department at the University of Hull as well as an ESRC-funded member of the White Rose DTP as part of the Cities, Environment and Liveability (CEL) pathway.