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  • Topic: Henry Mayhew, Punch, Flush toilet
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CITY LIFE DURING THE MID 1800s
Task: Study the sources carefully and answer the questions that follow. Pay special attention to the number of marks for each question.

Source One: A cartoon drawn in the 1850s at the height of a cholera epidemic (from Punch Magazine)

By Mr Jones
www.SchoolHistory.co.uk

Source Two: Taken from the internet site ‘Victorian Web’; 2002 During the first decades of Victoria's reign, baths were virtually unknown in the poorer districts and uncommon anywhere. Most households of all economic classes still used "privy-pails"; water closets (flush toilets) were rare. Sewers had flat bottoms, and because drains were made out of stone, seepage was considerable. If, as was often the case in towns, streets were unpaved, they might remain ankle-deep in mud for weeks. Source Three: 1850s cartoon; ‘A Court for King Cholera’ (From Punch Magazine)

Source Four: Henry Mayhew, ‘Jouneys through London’; 1849 W e then journeyed on to London Street, down which the tidal ditch continues its course. In No. 1 of this street the cholera first appeared seventeen years ago, and spread up it with fearful speed; but this year it appeared at the opposite end, and ran down it with like severity. As we passed along the reeking banks of the sewer the sun shone upon a narrow slip of the water. In the bright light it appeared the colour of strong green tea, and positively looked as solid as black marble in the shadow - indeed it was more like watery mud than muddy water; and yet we were assured this was the only water the wretched inhabitants had to drink.

As we gazed in horror at it, we saw drains and sewers emptying their filthy

contents into it; we saw a whole tier of doorless privies in the open road, common to men and women, built over it; we heard bucket after bucket of filth splash into it, and the limbs of the vagrant boys bathing in it seemed by pure force of contrast, white as Parian marble.

In this wretched place we were taken to a house...
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