A Brief History
On December 5, 1952, the people of London, England found out the hard way that smog is no joke. Air pollution, cold weather, fog, lack of wind and a phenomenon known as an anticyclone combined in such a manner that huge quantities of smoke from factories and furnaces, largely from the burning of coal, was left lingering over the city.
The noxious smoke, at first believed to not be dangerous, even penetrated buildings, causing people respiratory distress. Londoners called the episode, which lasted until December 9 when the weather finally cleared, “The Great Smog of 1952,” or simply “The Big Smoke. ” It is estimated that 4,000 Londoners died of smog-related problems and that 100,000 more suffered various respiratory afflictions. Researchers believe that, in the meantime, 12,000 deaths can be attributed to the incident.
If you live in a big city, an industrialized area or any place prone to developing smog, you better believe it, smog can kill you!
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you ever encountered smog? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
If you like these shorter stories and wish to receive notification of new lil’ chips from history, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by entering your email address at the top right of this page or like us on Facebook and becoming one of our patrons!
You may also share the story with your friends on any of the below-listed social media.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Dawson, Kate Winkler. Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City. Hachette Books, 2017.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by N T Stobbs from geograph.org.uk of Nelson’s Column during the Great Smog of 1952, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.