Environmentalism in 1880: The Fog of Death

Then the 1880 fog came. The thick, soupy fog was a mix of pollution from coal burned to heat homes and pollution from factories. They came together to create a toxic mix of sulphur dioxide and combustion particles.

This choking smog was extremely deadly. For three days it hung over London, and by the time it cleared irreparable damage had been done to many in the city. The young, elderly, and those with respiratory problems suffered most. Far more than just those groups died however.

When it was all over an estimated 11,776 people were killed by the fog according to the Open University- some, however, say the figure was much lower, more like 2,200. The East End, with its higher concentration of factories and low-lying areas that made it hard for fog to escape, was affected the worst.