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The great stink of 1858

60 second histories

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A description of the stench that came from the River Thames which became known as the Great Stink and almost caused Parliament to close

I could not believe it! I was sitting in the House of Commons with the window open looking out over the River Thames, when the most terrible stink that you could ever imagine poured in through the window, it actually felt damp on my clothes. It smelled like rotting cabbage mixed with putrefying flesh topped off with raw decaying sewage and when I looked out of the window to see what was making the stink I could see it all floating in the Thames! The stink was so bad that Parliament almost closed and that summer of eighteen fifty-eight has become known as the year of the great stink. The problem was that so much sewage and filth was being dumped into the river, the Thames couldn’t cope. The tide was unable to carry so much filth out to sea. After a lot of debate and consideration, legislation has eventually been passed for a new sewage system to be built in London, which hopefully will help put an end to the terrible stink and disease that blights our capital.
Medicine & Health
Medicine & health
Victorian gentleman
Key words: 
great stink, 1858, parliament, house of commons, river thames, stink, stench, rotting cabbage, decay, sewage, thames, tide, legislation, sewage system, london, disease, capital, victorian, Medicine and health, KS3, Key stage 3, Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, , KS4 Key stage 4, year 10 year 11,