Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cholera Postie


A brightly dressed postie cycles past the cholera burial ground on Station Road. Some of the 185 victims of the 1832 cholera outbreak in York were buried outside the city walls in this specially designated area. The law stated that cholera victims had to be buried at least one foot below ground which was not always possible in the cities full graveyards.

The germ theory of disease had not been suggested at this stage and it was thought cholera could be caught from breathing in foul miasmas or 'bad' air. A York born physician, John Snow, contributed to the formation of the germ theory when he traced the source of the 1854 cholera outbreak in Soho, London. He found that cases occurred in homes which obtained their water from a pump in Broad Street, and correctly identified drinking water as the source of the illness.

There is a local myth that the ground around the graves must never be disturbed or cholera will return to the city. Some years ago soil samples from here were sent for culture, and despite best efforts no cholera was isolated.

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4 comments:

  1. Shows how far we have come in our knowledge!

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  2. Very nice photo shot, thanks for sharing.

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  3. Seems an odd idea, to go looking for cholera. I knew about the myth having friends who live outside York.

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  4. Thank you for the history. The world is an amazing place. Your choice for action is excellent!

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