Cholera in Cardiff

Cholera in South Wales ] What is Cholera? ] Why did Cholera spread across industrial South Wales? ] Cholera in South Wales - the events ] Evidence: A wc from the 1890s. ] Evidence: Providing a safe water supply for Swansea. ] Why Cholera spread in Wales - housing ] Why Cholera spread in Wales - attitudes to water supply ] Why Cholera spread in Wales - attitudes to rubbish and sewage ] Cholera in Wales - consequences ]

Up ] Cholera in Swansea ] Cholera in Merthyr ] [ Cholera in Cardiff ]

As with Merthyr, cholera arrives to find a very fertile breeding ground in 1830s Cardiff. The death toll was comparatively low at the outset, certainly less than a hundred by August 1832. A local Board of Health gave out government advice on whitewashing buildings and burning the clothing of the victims but little else was done. Although little documentation survives for this early epidemic, it is known that cholera established itself as a semi permanent disease by the early 1840s. Perhaps as many as 350 people a year were dying of the disease between 1842 and 1848. 
The arrival of an epidemic in May 1849 led to great concern. The Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian did not report outbreaks of cholera for 3 weeks for fear of starting a panic.  As with the Cambrian in Swansea, the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian carried considerable reporting of the epidemic throughout the summer of 1849. 

The poorer parts of the town were particularly susceptible to cholera but the fear of the disease spread throughout the town. Many of the articles covered the dreadful tragedies that occurred.

In a house in Mary Anne Street a lodging house keeper turned out his niece when she fell ill. The girl died in the backyard of the property and the housekeeper went to the Relieving Officer for them to remove the body. In another incident a small child was taken ill in Landore Court where she was placed in a coal hole and left to die. 

The concentration of the disease in the poorer parts of town led to a large amount of anti-Irish sentiment being encouraged by the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian. A parallel with Swansea's Greenhill. Again in an experience shared with Swansea, the concentration of cholera in the poor parts of town made the public at large aware of the dreadful living conditions of the residents. 

 

 

The View for Sunday 7 January 2001

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