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The Great Smog of 1952

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I'm currently reading London Fog: The Biography by Christine L. Corton. I mention this because 63 years ago today the great smog of London began. The death toll of this is unknown but it was certainly upwards of 4,000. Of course smog wasn't confined to London but also occurred in other industrial cities. Even after the Clean Air Act I remember being in Glasgow in the early sixties getting caught in a smog. I was wearing a white shirt and a jacket and on removal of the latter I had a nice black V on the shirt. Interesting pollution is once again the scourge of many industrial areas of the world and causing thousands of deaths.

An account from the Met. Office.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/weather-phenomena/case-studies/great-smog

Some images

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/12/05/11-incredible-pictures-from-the-great-smog-of-1952_n_4389546.html

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2012/dec/05/60-years-great-smog-london-in-pictures

 

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The fog, I recall, knocker was in December 1962 - at that time I was working as a scientific assistant in the Met Office at Heathrow - I do recall that it was freezing and for a few days at least the temperature remained at a constant -5C with the frost gradually building up on trees and air con intakes.

I believe the vis was as poor as in 1952 but I don't think its was so wide spread as 1952 but at the same time it was the most severe freezing fog that I can recall experiencing.

At the time I had lodgings in Hounslow but one night I recall it was so bad that I spent the night the night in the Lady's Hostel on the airport with my then girl friend (now wife), sleeping on the floor, being unable to travel home. 

In December 1952 I do not recall there being much in the way of severe smogs - at the time I was living with my grand parents in a village called Woodville in South Derbyshire, which has an elevation of 140 metres.

Extract from Wilkipedia:

02.12.1962

A week of severe smog began in London, killing at least 106 people over four days, and causing the hospitalization of over 1,000. Most of the persons whose deaths were blamed on the fog had had pre-existing heart and lung problems, with 66 dead in the first three days. In 1952, at least 4,000 people had been killed over nine days by the combination of factory pollution and fog.

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I was in the 1952 fog, aged 10, on Saturday December 6.  The best single-word description of it is filthy.  We were in a hall near central London and of course the fog had evaporated leaving the smoke and dirt.  It looked as if someone had set fire to the waste bins, such was the pollution.  On the way back the bus crawled round Hyde Park Corner with several brake stamping but managed to get to Victoria Station.  The fog was very shallow, a little over 300 ft and above it the sky was a nice eggshell blue. I don't remember the cold - 10-yr-olds are pretty indestructible.  I was away in Uni. at the time of the 1962 fog.  Hope this all helps. 

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