21 June 2021

Late lunch talk: Bristol docks and cholera

Cholera reached Bristol on the 11 July 1832.

The London Quarterly Review described the new disease sweeping the world in November 1831:

‘It has mastered every variety of climate, surmounted every natural barrier, conquered every people.’

This disease had been prevalent in the Indian sub-continent for centuries, thriving in crowded and impoverished conditions.

The disease caused severe diarrhoea, dehydration, collapse and often death. However, on 12 July 1832, the newspapers reported that they had no reason to fear that cholera had arrived in earnest. Medical and political intervention was variable and inadequate.

What was the impact of cholera in Bristol? In this talk we will explore the consequences for public health in the city and the role the Floating Harbour played in the spread of the disease.

This talk is part of M Shed’s 10th anniversary programme.

Speaker: Rosemary Caldicott

Rosemary Caldicott is secretary of the Bristol Radical History Group, a tutor in adult education, and researcher. Her publications include The Life and Death of Hannah Wiltshire, Lady Blackshirts and Nautical Women. Rosemary is currently researching the transatlantic traffic of enslaved Africans from 1692-1695.

How to take part

This free, online talk will be held over Zoom. Please book your place below. Details of how to join the session will be in your registration email. Please check your spam folder if the email does not arrive. Bookings close at 11am on Monday 21 June.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful if you could consider making a donation.

Please visit the Zoom website for guidance on joining webinar. Please allow extra time before the talk begins to make sure everything is working correctly. It’s up to you whether you turn on your video but all guests will be muted once the talk begins. You are welcome to ask questions in the chat box throughout the talk.


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