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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published July 05 2013

Weather Talk: 1858 heat waves caused devastation in London

Heat waves are not just a modern phenomenon. One of history’s most devastating heat waves occurred in England in 1858. Not only was that summer unusually hot but technology of the time had led many Londoners to replace their chamber pots with water closets.

Unfortunately, London’s cesspits were not large enough to handle the increase, causing raw, sunbaked sewage to flow into the River Thames, still the drinking supply for all but the wealthiest Londoners.

People died by the thousands from cholera and typhoid. Many people hung sheets soaked in lime in their windows to mask the smell wafting off the river. British Parliament reacted by spending the money to overhaul the

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