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Typhoid, Cholera & Plague in Cambridgeshire

History of Typhoid and Cholera in Cambridgeshire

1349 Plague in Cambridge – Black Death

1389 Plague

1513 Plague in Cambridge: Erasmus leaves Cambridge to escape

1577-1578 Plague in Cambridge

1584 Plague in Wisbech

1587 Plague in Wisbech

1665-66 Plague in Cambridge: killed 920

1815 Cholera in Cambridge

1832 Cholera in Ely

23/3/1832 Cambridge Chronicle

In 1832, 32 inhabitant of Nordelph died of cholera. Reepham medicine was claimed to work. At time of report 19 deaths.

20/4/1832 Cambridge Chronicle

Cholera at Ely: 49 dead.

Cholera in Wisbech: 20-30 died.

1848 Cholera in Nordelph, Wisbech and Cambridge

16/12/1848 Cambridge Independent Press

1848 Cholera in Cambridge

20/12/1848 Cambridge General Advertiser

Wayment, 70 year old man Shelly Row

Hillsden, 21 year old woman, Quayside, spasmodic cholera

1849 Cholera in Wisbech

20/1/1849 Cambridge Independent Press

Cholera at Nordelph (Northdelp) in Upwell

24/11/1849 Cambridge Independent Press

In 3rd Quarter of 1849 there were 80 cholera deaths in Wisbech

40 cholera deaths in North Witchford

1852 Typhoid in Cottenham

30/10/1852 Cambridge Independent

See ‘Olwyn Peacock, Cottenham’s Troubled Waters 1978’.

So many people died that autumn that a special day was set aside for prayers in the Church and Chapels. The outbreaks were without doubt caused by the liquid from household and animal cesspools seeping into the water supplies in the village.

1854 Cholera in Wisbech

Death rate of 49 per 1,000 highest in the country

15/9/1854 Lincolnshire Chronicle

1857 Typhoid in Cottenham

1865 Cholera in Wisbech

Woman died at Parson Drove

1866 Cholera in Linton

8/9/1866 Cambridge Chronicle

4 deaths in Linton

1873 Cholera in Cambridge – Caius College

1874 Typhoid in Cambridge

24/1/1874 The Ipswich Journal

7/2/1874 Norfolk News

10/2/1874 Bury and Norwich Post

George Fowler, 46, died of typhoid, manager of Rivingtons

1878 Typhoid in Cambridge

23/9/1878 Bradford Daily Telegraph

Typhoid in Cambridge

1885 Typhoid in Cottenham

By March there were 65 cases with 6 deaths. With two exceptions, all cases were at Church End and could be connected with the infected area. Seven cases which occurred before 17th January broke out in the houses at the extremities of Whitehead’s or Smith’s Path. The Chesterton Medical Officer Dr. Anningson that the water distribution in the village could explain the outbreak. Part of the village was on greensand, part on gault clay. The part of the village on gault was supplied by water in pipes from the greensand area. Wells had been dug in the gault area which served as underground reservoirs. It was into these reservoirs that sewerage matter had percolated and the pipes would transfer typhoid bacteria from one well to another. Twenty seven wells in the village were tested; eighteen were unfit for drinking. Of twelve wells at Church End, nine were bad.

It was however still not generally accepted that the disease was caught via water; there was a an old tradition of placing lighted pipes of tobacco on the coffins of typhoid victims to ‘purify’ the air.

It would take 20 years for the households at Church End to get a reliable supply of clean running water. Until then, water was delivered from cart into pails. Peacock’s monograph has details of the reports and discussion that took place.

1887 Typhoid at Fulbourn

30/9/1887 Cambridge Chronicle

‘Perfectly filthy’well

1887 Typhoid at Grantchester

30/9/1887 Cambridge Chronicle

1888 Typhoid in Fen Ditton

25/5/1888 Cambridge Chronicle

30 cases in Fen Ditton

1888 Inquiry at Cottenham

16/3/1888 Cambridge Independent Press

1889 Typhoid in Ely

10/7/1889 Cambridge Daily News

1889 Typhoid in St Ives

1/7/1889 Cambridge Daily News

Miss Burgess died

1889 Typhoid in Cambridge

30/8/1889 Cambridge Daily News

Newmarket Road – 40 infected

31/8/1889 Cambridge Daily News

George Sedgeley, 14, Riverside

5/9/1889 Cambridge Daily News

Cheddar’s Lane, Cambridge

1892 Cholera in March

5/10/1892 Suffolk and Essex Free Press

J Harlow, potato merchant in March

1893 Typhoid at Fen Ditton

11/8/1893 Cambridge Independent Press

1893 Typhoid at Cherry Hinton

11/8/1893 Cambridge Independent Press

1893 Typhoid in Sawston


Death of Mrs Townsend

1899 Typhoid in Sawston

8/9/1899 Cambridge Independent Press

1899 Typhoid in Cambridge

27/10/1899 Dublin Daily Nation

Annie Perrin dies of Typhoid

1901 Typhoid in Cambridge

29/3/1901 Cambridge Independent Press

Four cases in East Road

1902 Typhoid in Cottenham

27/6/1902 Cambridge Independent Press

7 cases at Green End, Cottenham

4/7/1902 Cambridge Independent Press

Typhoid and bad water at Cottenham

18/8/1902 Cambridge Independent Press

1902 Typhoid in Gamlingay and Orwell

11/7/1902 Cambridge Independent News

1903 Typhoid in Cherry Hinton

12/9/1903 London Daily News

Sewerage Dispute at Cambridge

1905 Typhoid in Fulbourn

19/5/1905 Herts and Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow

60 cases of typhoid, some fatal at Fulbourn Lunatic Asylum

1907 Typhoid in Fulbourn

4/10/1907 Lunatic Asylum reported free of Typhoid

1908 Typhoid in Fulbourn

1/5/1908 Cambridge Independent

18 cases (4 fatal) in County Asylum

1910 Cambridge Water Supply Bill

15/4/1910 Cambridge Independent Press

1916 Typhoid in Wisbech

3/12/1916 The People

Wisbech VAD hospital evacuated because of typhoid epidemic


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