Start Date

25-4-2022 9:00 AM

End Date

25-4-2022 12:00 PM

Disciplines

European History | History | History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Subjects

Thames River (England), Engineering -- Great Britain -- History, Sir Joseph William Bazalgette (1819 – 1891)

Abstract

In the summer of 1858, the River Thames of London was polluted beyond recognition, producing an intolerable smell that reached all corners of the city and inspired a surge of rhetoric commenting on the state of the once adored river. Prior to the nineteenth century, the Thames was the jewel of London and the main source of the city’s prosperity. However, industrialism took a toll on the river’s beauty and health, and the once pristine waterway was quickly spoiled in the space of mere decades. Tracing back to nineteenth century London, this paper aims to explore the causes of the physical deterioration of the River Thames and to more specifically analyze the factors that promoted the Thames’ large-scale and effective restoration. With the help of unbridled media publications, moral outcry, a deadly cholera epidemic, and finally the direct impact of an olfactory crisis on the members of Parliament, the Thames transformed from a fermenting sewer to the cleanest metropolitan river in the world.

Rights

© 2022 Lucie N. Jain

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/37660

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Apr 25th, 9:00 AM Apr 25th, 12:00 PM

Don't Breathe: An Analysis of the Factors of the Victorian River Thames' Restoration

In the summer of 1858, the River Thames of London was polluted beyond recognition, producing an intolerable smell that reached all corners of the city and inspired a surge of rhetoric commenting on the state of the once adored river. Prior to the nineteenth century, the Thames was the jewel of London and the main source of the city’s prosperity. However, industrialism took a toll on the river’s beauty and health, and the once pristine waterway was quickly spoiled in the space of mere decades. Tracing back to nineteenth century London, this paper aims to explore the causes of the physical deterioration of the River Thames and to more specifically analyze the factors that promoted the Thames’ large-scale and effective restoration. With the help of unbridled media publications, moral outcry, a deadly cholera epidemic, and finally the direct impact of an olfactory crisis on the members of Parliament, the Thames transformed from a fermenting sewer to the cleanest metropolitan river in the world.