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Surviving an epidemic 150 years ago


Event Description

In Victorian times, London was afflicted with a terrible epidemic. No one knew the cure. No understood the science. Except one man. This is his story. The story of London’s hygiene starts 2,000 years ago with a look at how things started to go pear shaped. We take a humorous look at waste from the first toilets in London (Roman of course) and why we got the term ‘loo’.

We’ll look at the evolution of public loos on London Bridge, the human caped ‘bucket loos’ and the flushing loos of the Victorians. We’ll learn about people who made money from the waste of Londoners, the toshers, grubbers and night-soil men, the creation of the flushing toilet and why it’s called a John in the USA.

Finally the important bit: How a lack of understanding of not ridding of our waste correctly led to awful cholera outbreaks, the ‘Great Stink, and how a man of science collaborated with a man of religion to solve it.

  • Duration: 1 hr 15 mins
  • Online Zoom event: Join from your computer, phone or tablet (a recording will be available)
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Meet the Host, Loona

Loona Hazarika is a history geek who has been giving guided tours of his birthplace London for over 15 years. Trained by the British Museum (where he was an official tour guide) he co-founded London City Steps, a social enterprise that helps to train and give confidence to underprivileged youth via a love of local history.

He spent a year volunteering at the Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda where he recorded and set up their first audio guides system and has advised and appeared on TV history shows such as BBC TV’s The ‘Hairy Builder’, ‘the Repair Shop’ and SKY Atlantic’s ‘Urban Secrets’

He has a Master’s Degree in economics from the University of Cambridge.

Preparing for the Event

For the best experience, you will need to have Zoom downloaded onto your computer. Please ensure you're connected to broadband/wifi rather than using your mobile phone connection (3G/4G).

We also recommend that pets are either calmly sitting on your lap or in another room, and any refreshments you may require are within your reach!