THE BROAD STREET PUMP

No photo tour of John Snow's life would be complete without a stop at the replica of the Broad Street pump, unveiled on July 20, 1992 to commemorate the public health work of Dr. Snow.

The Old Ordnance Survey map of 1870 for the Broad Street area is shown below with several landmarks to be presented on our tour. We will go from right to left along Broad Street (now Broadwick Street).

The first building encountered is a pub on Broadwick Street near Berwick Street that possibly resembles the famous brewery described by Dr. Snow in the Broad Street pump outbreak (see to the right below)

Snow discovered that none of the 70 persons working in the brewery developed cholera, far different than others in the immediate neighborhood. Apparently all of the employees consumed water from a separate well maintained by the brewery, or drank only beer. Snow reasoned that they had no exposure to the water of the Broad Street pump, adding further evidence to his theory that the pump water was contaminated by an unseen biological organism.

Further along the road, is a view of a replica of the Broad Street pump in the center of the scene, with the Broad Street pub in the distance.

The original Broad Street pump is no longer present, but instead is represented by a curbstone and small plaque on the side of the John Snow pub. A replica of the pump (click for larger view) was created in 1992 to commemorate Snow's work (see below)

The plaque (click for larger view) at the bottom of the pump describes its importance for those passing by.

It reads, Dr. John Snow (1813-1858), a noted anesthesiologist, lived near the focus of the 1854 Soho cholera epidemic which centered on Broad Street, as Broadwick Street was then called.  In September of that year alone, over 500 people died in Soho from the disease.  Snow had studied cholera in the 1848-49 epidemic in Southwark and Wandsworth.  His theory that polluted drinking water was the cause of transmission of the disease was confirmed when he mapped cholera deaths in Soho with the source of the victim's drinking water.  He found that they were concentrated on the Broad Street water pump.  His theory initially met with much disbelief but such was his conviction that he had the pump handle removed to prevent its further use.  Soon afterwards the outbreak ended. The original pump is believed to have been located outside the nearby "The John Snow" public house.

THE END

This ends the photo tour.  Additional views of the John Snow public house (or pub) and the original site of the Broad Street pump are presented in the section, John Snow pub. For a more comprehensive presentation of the Broad Street pump outbreak, see Dr. Snow original description or for those with a broadband modem connection, see and hear Part 2: Broad Street Pump Outbreak.

Sources

Porter R. London - A Social History, 1994.

Tames R. Soho Past, 1994

The West End, 1870. Old Ordnance Survey Maps.

Return to John Snow site