The Chimney of the World: A History of Smoke Pollution in Victorian and Edwardian Manchester

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White Horse Press, 2001 - History - 271 pages
"To a good many of its citizens, late Victorian Manchester, the "workshop of the world," was one of humanity's supreme achievements. In a century it had gone from regional market town to draping the world in cotton cloth. To a small minority at the time, and to the retrospective environmentalist, it was an abomination. Except on Sundays and during periods of trade collapse, Manchester was carpeted by black coal smoke. The smoke came from factory chimneys, but also from household hearths, the open coal fire being treasured both as a source of warmth and a central symbol of domestic bliss. Its residents created that smoke, lived in it, tried continuously and vainly to clean up from it, and died from it at a high rate. Smoke, Mosley argues convincingly, shaped their city and their life within it: the prevailing winds that pushed smoke inland determined who lived where; its power to blacken and destroy dictated the designs and materials feasible for architects to use; its pervasiveness affected neighborhood sociability by putting a premium on securely closed windows (which prompted reliance on the high draft of the open coal fire as a means of ventilating, as well as heating, one's dwelling, and thus in turn exacerbated the smoke problem). Stephen Mosley examines three aspects of Manchester's smoke situation: its magnitude and impact on the town, the rhetoric and culture of smoke, and the (unsuccessful) campaigns to control it--From a book review (H-Net)."

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Contents

Manchester Air Pollution
1
The Nature of Smoke
13
Stories About Smoke
69
Copyright

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