Table: Deaths from Cholera and Diarrhoea

The summer of 1849 saw a serious and widespread outbreak of the water-borne disease cholera. Over 10,000 people died of the disease in London alone in just three months. In September 1849, Henry Mayhew wrote a letter to the newspaper The Morning Chronicle, providing details of a visit he made to the London district of Bermondsey. On Mayhew's suggestion, the editor of the newspaper commissioned an investigation into the living conditions of the working classes in England and Wales. As a result, at least one article appeared every day for the rest of the year and for most of 1850, dramatically raising the profile of the public health campaign.

This source is taken from the edition of The Morning Chronicle published on September 24th 1849 and appeared alongside Mayhew's letter describing the living conditions of Jacob's Island, Bermondsey (see source 1).

  • What impact does such a table have on your view of the conditions at the time, in comparison with a written description?
  • What does the data tell you about the extent of the sanitary problems in Victorian Britain?

Taken from: The Morning Chronicle
Date: 24th September 1849
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: LD16