The Soho Cholera Epidemic.
Doctor John Snow (1813-1858) a noted anaesthetist lived near the focus of the 1854 Soho cholera epidemic which centred on Broad Street, as Broadwick Street was then called. In September of that year alone, over 500 people died in Soho from the disease. Snow had studied cholera in the 1848-9 epidemic in Southwark and Wandsworth. His theory that polluted drinking water was the source of transmission of the disease was confirmed when he mapped cholera deaths in Soho with the source of the victim's drinking water. He found that they were concentrated on the Broad Street public water pump. His theory initially met with some disbelief but such was his conviction that he had the pump handle removed to prevent its further use. Soon afterwards the outbreak ended.
The original pump is believed to have been situated outside the nearby 'Sir John Snow' Public House.
This water pump was unveiled by Councillor David Weeks Leader of Westminster City Council on 20 July 1992. It marks a pioneering example of medical research in the service of public health. The placement of this artefact and associated environmental improvements in Broadwick Street have been generously supported by Lynton plc.
City of Westminster
Still, this pump has no handle.
Site: John Snow Public House (3 memorials)
W1, Broadwick Street
When we first published this c.2009, the pump was on the north-east corner of the Broadwick Street / Poland Street junction. 2018: Londonist reported that the pump has been reinstalled, so we took a new photo.
Credit for this entry to: Bob Baker