John Snow and the Cholera Outbreak of 1854

10/29/2012 12:00 AM

On the 8th September 1854, on the instruction of Dr. John Snow, the handle to the pump on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street) in Soho was removed. Snow recognized that the water from this pump was the source of an outbreak of cholera that ravaged Soho, killing over 500 in previous weeks. Snow's work was groundbreaking for its use of statistical analysis: he plotted the locations of all the deaths in the cholera epidemic and discovered that they clustered around water pumps and particularly around the pump in Broad Street. Though Snow's intervention may have had little impact on the outbreak itself, his work made an important contribution to London's public health movement and the development of epidemiology as an evidence-based science.

This video is from Medical London, a book and project about 2000 years of health and sickness in London, featuring seven self-guided walks. Broadwick Street is a point of interest on the fifth walk, 'Politics, Poverty, Pox and Pleasure: Soho by night'.