Brixton history: Electric Avenue during the Great Smog of 1952

Brixton history: Electric Avenue during the Great Smog of 1952

This dramatic photo taken outside Timothy Whites and Taylor (now Boots Chemist), on the corner of Electric Avenue and Brixton Road shows how horrendous the Great Smog of 1952 was.

Brixton history: Electric Avenue during the Great Smog of 1952

[Pic credit: Topham Picturepoint]

Known to be the worst air-pollution event in the history of the UK, the Great Smog was a severe air-pollution event that affected London during December 1952.

The stifling fog was the result of a period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions which collected airborne pollutants, mostly from the coal fires burning all over the city.

A thick layer of smog descended over London Friday 5th to Tuesday 9th December 1952 before finally dispersing when the weather changed.

Brixton history: Electric Avenue during the Great Smog of 1952

[A less impressive Brixton fog in November 2011]

Government medical reports later found that 4,000 people had died prematurely and 100,000 more had been made ill by the effect of the smog on the human respiratory tract.

Later research in 2004 put the deaths as high as 12,000.

Brixton history: Electric Avenue during the Great Smog of 1952

In Central London, a number 15 bus has to be guided by a man holding a flaming torch. []

In the aftermath of the Great Smog, several changes in practices and regulations were made, including the introduction of the Clean Air Act in 1956, although air pollution remains a serious problem in Brixton.

In fact, in August this year, air pollution in Brixton was registered in Brixton at more than triple the national limit.

More on the Great Smog:

How the Guardian reported on London’s Great Smog of 1952
Wikipedia
The London Smog Disaster of 1952
– science data
Timothy Whites and Taylor in Brixton

See more Brixton history:
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