Broadsheet. letterpress: `Cholera Morbus', public notice issued by magistrates of Havering advising health precautions. Printed C. Harvey, Romford. [c1840]
Displayed in a prominent place in town, this public notice was used to inform the people of Havering in Romford, Essex (just outside London), on ways to prevent the spread of cholera.
The advice reflects ideas of cleanliness and good personal hygiene. Cleanliness in the home included emptying and deodorising dustbins and maintaining a clean water supply. Note that this sign pre-dates the work of John Snow, who eventually established that cholera is a waterborne disease. Suggestions on diet include avoiding ‘indigestible’ foods such as salads and raw fruits or foods which cause indigestion and the build up of acids in the body – not a diet that would be recommended today!
The notice also advises people to maintain a cheerful and positive attitude. The appeals for divine assistance illustrate the belief that God or a higher power had control over the disease.
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