It has a funny name, but it was a serious crisis in the city of London: The Great Stink of 1858. In Victorian London, the city dumped its sewage into the River Thames because the river flowed out into the sea. However, the summer of 1858 revealed that the sewage didn't go anywhere (this was because of the way the tides work). London experienced an unusually warm summer this year, which resulted in low water levels on the Thames. The low water uncovered rotting sewage that baked in the hot summer sun and caused an unimaginable stench. The Great Stink spurred London's City Press to write: "Gentility of speech is at an end-it stinks, and whoso once inhales the stink can never forget it and can count himself lucky if he lives to remember it." In the coming years, London implemented a plumbing system.
You Wouldn't Like London During The The Great Stink of 1858
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Key Facts In This Video
The Great Stink of 1858 occurred in London as a result of sewage in the River Thames. 00:24
Londoners tried to get rid of The Great Stink of 1858 by soaking curtains in calcium hypochlorite. 01:28
Parliament shut down during The Great Stink of 1858 because the stench was so bad. 01:59