Hear speakers from the Brunel Museum and Dickens Museum talk about two Victorian icons' contributions to sanitary reforms in the 19th century.
Noxious Gases of the Tidal Ditch: the Brunels' Toxic Tunnel Beneath the Thames.
The story of Marc Isambard Brunel's heroic civil engineering feat, the first tunnel under the Thames, is well documented. Behind this cutting-edge technical triumph, however, are the stories of the workers and engineers who laboured in appalling conditions, resulting in sometimes fatal medical conditions and industrial accidents.
The construction of the tunnel over two decades took place against the backdrop of a public health crisis in London, much of which focussed on waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
We explore the interwoven connections between great advances in engineering and science and the medical challenges of this pandemic-stricken period in London, as documented by some of the pioneering contemporary social commentators.
Gill Howard and Keith Turpin are volunteers at the Brunel Museum, where they share the fascinating story of the lives of Marc and Isambard Brunel, and that of their joint triumph, the world’s first tunnel under a navigable river and. Both Gill and Keith have a passion for history and their local area, regularly leading tours of historic Rotherhithe.
Miasma and filth in the life and works of Charles Dickens
Medicine, science, and sanitation underwent a radical transformation in Dickens’s lifetime. Developing theories and practices, as well as legislation that underpinned ideas of public health, fascinated the author. Dickens saw sanitation as an important means for reducing suffering and improving the lives of Britain’s poor.
Through scenes in his novels, after dinner speeches and articles in his journal Household Words, Dickens used his voice, and pen, to call for action. Join the Charles Dickens Museum’s Senior Curator as she explores this aspect of the author’s life and work.
Frankie Kubicki is the Senior Curator at the Charles Dickens Museum, London. She previously worked as Senior Curator at Keats House in Hampstead. Frankie has recently completed a TECHNE Partnership AHRC Doctoral Award exploring the paper collections held at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.