Epidemic snippets

Liverpool Mercury, Friday, September 3, 1847

The Ship Fever in Canada

A letter from Kingston dated August 10th, "The state of the fever at Quebec and Montreal remains the same, but three ships have arrived at Grosse Isle in a condition which far surpasses any previous horrors. The Sir Henry Pottinger sailed from Cork with 399 passengers, she reached the St Lawrence with 112 sick and 98 dead, and the Virginius and John Munn, which left Liverpool with 496 and 425 passengers, respectively, have arrived, the one with 158, and the other with 59 dead, while almost every soul of the survivors was hopelessly ill. Of the crew of the Virginius but 3 are left, the captain and officers having died with the rest, and it is seriously contemplated to scuttle the ship and sink her for a while, as the only means of purifying her from the infection she has absorbed, it is said that every one has abandoned her at Grosse Isle"

Liverpool Mercury, Tuesday, October 26, 1847

Liverpool, Monday Oct 25th

A large timber laden ship, waterlogged, with close-reefed main-topsail set, and ensign union down, apparently recently abandoned, and with Virginius on her stern, was passed 11th Oct, in lat 46, lon 42, by the Duke of Wellington, arrived here. The ship Virginius cleared at Quebec 11th Sept from this port.

Caledonian Mercury Monday, November 1, 1847

Arrived at Greenock on Monday the barque Cuba, BLANCHARD, from Richmond [Virginia] sailed 28th Sept with a cargo of tobacco for Clyde. On the 14th inst in lat 46. 12, long 40. 50. saw vessel with her foretopsail set, closed-reefed, on nearing her found her to be waterlogged, the sea making a passage over her decks, her cutwater torn off, and her head twisted to one side, boarded her, found boats all gone, some provisions and water in tops, where the crew had put them, cabin full of water. On the top of the poop found rough clothes and the ship's cannister in which were the register, proving ship to be the Virginius of Belfast [820tons], John LESLIE, master, consignees letters, manifest, ship's papers and a package addressed to John HARRISON, all of which the master of the Cuba will deliver to his consignees at Glasgow. The master of the Cuba thinks the Virginius had been in contact with an iceberg or ship, and the crew had taken to their boats


Asiatic Cholera


Liverpool Journal 6th Jan 1849

The dreaded pestilence not withstanding the coldness of the weather still prevails extensively Glasgow in 8 days, 367 new cases, 194 deaths, 79 recoveries. In low districts of the town corpses were found unburied, the alarm occasioned by the attack rendering other occupants to flee and lock the doors behind them. In Dumfries were the ravages were nearly as great as 1832 it was abated and deaths are occurring not exceeding 3 a day. Tuesday last, 1 case in London, Edinburgh 11, Glasgow 177, Moukland 37, Carlisle 2, Belfast 56. [this is daily]

At Tooting 294 cases with to date 112 deaths at an infant pauper house. The malady has also broken out at St Pancreas Workhouse and Hertford Gaol

This is a report concerning the deaths at Tooting

The pauper children farmed out at Tooting.

The frightful rapidity in which the cholera spread in Mr DROUETS establishment at Tooting has exited the scientific world and brought the deep attention of the Benevolent. The sad mortality seems to imply that overcrowding, improper diet, and insufficient clothing have been productive of that susceptibility of disease in the children. An inquest was held on Tuesday last by Mr WAKLEY. M.P. on four victims that died in the Royal Free Hospital after being removed from Mr DROUETS establishment.

Mr DROUET was given 4/6d per head for the children and had 1,300 at his establishment. On visiting last may it was reported that the children were inspected at dinner time the meat was reasonable and the potatoes of which 100 separate plates were used , were black and diseased. The children were standing and inspectors told that they always stood to eat. School rooms, dormitories appeared clean and workshops tidy, the infants sleeping room had a very unhealthy smell. The girls appeared healthy but the boys sickly, the boys were questioned on treatment , 40 held up their hands to intimate dissatisfaction and complained about not having enough food, Mr DROUET became violent and called the boys liars he said they were the worst in the school. and threatened them with a thrashing. On medical inspection two thirds of the children had itch, eruptions of scabies, sore feet, tumid abdomens, lax muscles and diseases joints some had large bellies characteristic of scrofulous patients.

It was concluded that the person responsible for the childrens health was now under a serious charge, guilty though he may be the principle which refuses to condemn before trial and proof of guilt would be respected Expose the poor to cold, hunger and impure air and they feed the Cholera,


Liverpool Journal

24th Feb 1849

The Cholera, there have been 5 cases in Liverpool since our last. Scotland still continues the seat of the disease, and at Kilmarnock from the 1st inst till their last, 81 cases had occurred. The malady still continues with considerable virulence in Belfast.

A good lady who had two children sick with the measles went to a friend for the best remedy, while the friend had just received a note from another lady inquiring the best way to make pickles. In the confusion the lady inquiring about the pickles received the remedy for measles, while the anxious mother of the sick children, read the following, -

Scald them three or four times in hot vinegar, and sprinkle them well with salt, and in a few days they will be cured.


Liverpool Journal

24th Feb 1849

Ship fever and smallpox

The packet ship CAMBRIDGE, Capt PEABODY, after a long and boisterous passage from Liverpool, and last from Cork with 338 passengers, 25 of the steerage passengers died on the passage of ship fever and smallpox, and a great many are sick and were taken on shore at Quarantine, New York, 6th Feb.



Scotland ward

Northern Times Sept 26th 1854

Mortality in Scotland Ward

For the week ending Sat 23rd inst, Mr CLEMENTS the registrar of Scotland Ward, made the following returns:-

Deaths from cholera 72

Diarrhoea 20

Other causes 38

Totalling 130, From Mr DUNCAN'S report it appears that Scotland Ward, the number of deaths are in a proportion of 1 in 1,400, while in others of the borough deaths amount only 1 in 10,000. This is fearful odds against Scotland Ward.


St Martin's cemetery

Northern Times, Oct 12th 1854

Meeting of the Health Committee

For the week ending Saturday last there were 144 deaths from Cholera in Liverpool a decrease of 93 from the previous week.

Deaths from all causes were 336, 115 less than the previous week.

Deaths in the parish, 250, out townships 86

Cholera 95, having been 171 the preceding week and the week preceding that 270.

Deaths distributed as follows:-

Scotland Ward 81, Vauxhall 21, Exchange 6, Great George 6, St Anne 6, Lime St 2, Castle St 2, Rodney St 2, Pitt St 1, Abercromby 1, not stated 7.

Out of townships, Everton 1, Kirkdale 4, West Derby 2, North Toxteth 1, South Toxteth 6, Diarrhoea 42, Typhus 16, Scarletina 12, Smallpox 3, measles 3, Syphilis 6.

St Martin's Cemetery

Mr GODFREY asked if, in the district of Scotland Ward cholera was not most violent in the neighbourhood of St Martin�s cemetery, Dr DUNCAN confirmed this.

Mr GODFERY said, his attention had been called by people in the neighbourhood to the fact that a number of bodies were constantly left exposed at night, awaiting interment the next day by the parish authorities. Mr FRESH had given information three weeks ago for similar conduct.

Dr DUNCAN said, he had written the following letter to Mr HART on the subject but as yet , had, had no reply.

30th Sept 1854

Dear Sir,

The police report to me that on visiting St Martin's cemetery at 1 am this morning, 15 coffins were found exposed in the open air, without any covering over them, and that on a previous occasion 6 coffins were found similarly deposited. May I request that you bring these facts under the notice of the proper authorities in the hope that some fitting place be provided for the reception of dead bodies previous to interment, I am, Sir Yours,



Care of Lunatics

Daily Post

Jan 20th 1860

Toxteth Board of Guardians meeting

Present, Mr H. S. ALPASS, Chairman, Messers, J. HARRISON, Joseph WILSON, William BAYNES, G. W. HUNTER, John WILSON, J. D. CARTER, H. LAYLAND, M. A. JOHNS

Mr WILSON made a complaint against Mr HEATH one of the relieving officers, for neglecting a woman lunatic, deserted by her husband.

Her mother was called and said, her husband [the lunatic's step-father] earned £80 a year and they ran 2 small shops, Mr WILSON moved the woman should be kept by the parish, but the motion was lost by a large majority.

A letter was then read by the Superintendent of the County Constabulary, charging Mr WILLIAMS, relieving officer, with neglecting to provide custody to a man certified insane. Mr WILLIAMS explanation was satisfactory and so the board took no further action upon the matter.

The New Workhouse is rapidly approaching completion, and now contains 325 inmates, who have been removed from West Derby Workhouse. A cheque for £100 was signed for outdoor relief and the board adjourned.

Workhouse Committee

Meeting held at the parish offices, Mr Churchwarden CROPPER presiding, also present, Messers DENTON, A. BYFORD, E. BYFORD, SMITH, SCOTT, MELLY and BROWN.

Number of paupers in the workhouse - 2.186, last week, 2,198 in the corresponding week last year 2,455 a decrease of 259.

Paupers in the hospital - 709, new 162, cured 143, died 30, now remaining under treatment 2,698, including 20 with fever, 15 with the itch.

Number in the vagrants sheds, 138 men, 58 women, 14 children, total 210.

The Governor reported that on Tuesday last Jane RIMMER, a violent lunatic was sent to Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum, but was not admitted as there was no room. She was then taken to Rainhill Asylum but was also refused there, as there was no room. She was brought back after midnight and put in the lunatic ward connected with the house.

The Chairman said, it was extra-ordinary the increase in the numbers of lunatics. Haydock Lodge had been increased some time ago and now they had no room for one.

He informed the board that the woman was in an excited and violent state when brought back to the house, and tore her dress to pieces. The Governor had told him she found the woman, one day lying in the straw in the corner of her cell in a state of nudity, having torn her clothes to pieces


Manchester Courier, Nov 25th, 1912

Scenes in Cholera Camp

English Nurses Heroism

Constantinople Saturday

Two Englishmen who visited the San Stefano cholera camp yesterday with the object of seeing what relief work is possible, found an old lady working among the soldiers. She is Miss ALT, aged about 60, formerly a trained nurse who was sent out by Lady DUFFERIN many years ago when the latter attempted to found an institute of nursing among Turkish mothers. The scheme did not succeed here as it had done in India, but Miss ALT remained and became a governess in Turkish families.

She was with a family at San Stefano when the cholera camp was established there. The distress touched her and she plunged into the work unaided by any other European and without soliciting any other foreign assistance. She is spending her own money, earned by her own efforts, and is nursing the victims with her own hands. Mr ROCKHILL the American Ambassador, is offering a large part of the American Red Cross fund, which has been entrusted to him, for the organisation of this camp, and his secretary Mr PHILIP, is attempting with various British doctors, and others, to make an immediate beginning.

Labourers, for the work can be obtained at little more than ordinary wages, if indeed those. Soldiers cannot be employed who are unfit for service at the front. Of the latter there are many thousands, many of whom are now confined with cholera victims in the mosques and camps. The chief difficulty is that of finding capable men willing to undertake the harrowing and filthy task. The Englishmen who visited the camp yesterday that one soldier appealed to them, saying, "I am strong and perfectly well but am being starved to death. I have had no food for two days."

The Englishmen say that one unarmed soldier who protested against being confined in the camp was struck with a whip by an officer and pushed by a sentry with the butt of his gun. Most of the soldiers are driven about like sheep without protest into cordons. It would seem that the commanders of the army consider that soldiers are unwilling or unable to fight are not worth keeping alive. One officer recently returned from the front said to a prominent Englishman there, "There are many deserters but do not think badly of them, for the conditions at the front are terrible."

British Journal of Nursing, Dec 7th 1912

Miss Alt, who has been attending the cholera patients, has been admitted to the British Hospital, Constantinople, having broken down from overwork. It is not believed she has cholera, but to trained nurses in this country, the breakdown of this heroic nurse from sheer overwork, has from the first appeared inevitable.


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