In the 17th century, London was regarded as the filthiest city in Europe. Roads littered with horse manure, overflowing privies and cesspools, clouds of dust, dirty water and rubbish thrown into the streets.
The city was seriously crowded; the medieval infrastructure couldn’t support the rapidly expanding population. Only 30,000 houses had mains water and there was no drainage.
Squalid conditions meant Londoners were renowned for poor health. Residents were riddled with scurvy, measles, and tuberculosis. A third of children never made it past the age of 6. In the great plague between 1665 and 1666, a fifth of the population died.
It makes us feel so very fortunate to be cleaning London homes and businesses in the 21st century. Hot water, sanitation, advanced cleaning products, electric hoovers…bliss!