London 1849

«One of the greatest challenges to urban life in the nineteenth century was the question of what to do with what Johnson calls the ‘rising tide of excrement’ piling up under the feet of the population of London and other cities. At the time the custom was to throw one’s waste out the back window or store it in overflowing cesspools and cellars. An 1849 survey found out that in London, one home in five stank of human waste, and one in twenty contained heaps of shit in the cellar. ‘At mid-century Victorian England was in danger of becoming submerged in a huge dung-heap of its own making,’ wrote historian Anthony Wohl.»

(Helen Epstein : 'Death by the Numbers', in The New York Review of Books, Volume LIV, Number 11, June 28 2007, p. 41)

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