History lesson – What happened in Worthing in 1893?

Today, in our History lesson we learnt about problems that Worthing has encountered in the past. We had to find out what the problems were and how they were solved. We did an investigation into what happened in Worthing in 1893, why it happened and find an example of a person who was affected by the event and explain what happened to them.

History blog 2

We were separated into groups and were given 20 minutes to find out what the problem was. We looked at lots of different sources. The first source we looked at was a newspaper article from the Worthing Herald. It showed us that there was a typhoid epidemic in 1893, the article was written on the 100th anniversary. Also, as the population grew the drainage systems proved inefficient and in March 1893 plans to replace the water supply was put into place. Because of the epidemic 1400 people suffered and 188 people died – 77 men and 111 women. The epidemic was resolved by the boiling of water and milk.

The second source we looked at told us about a man called William F Churcher and his family. William was quite wealthy, he had a wife, he had 6 children and a servant. Because of the typhoid epidemic his wife Harriet and daughter Charlotte died. Between the census being taken and Harriet and Charlotte’s death, Harriet had two more children. The council was behind the typhoid epidemic and William was on the council. This meant that when the elections came none of the council were re-elected. William died a year after his wife and daughter died, leaving behind 7 children. There was 13 days between the deaths of Harriet and Charlotte. This meant that it was very hard for their family to deal with. William was not re-elected and after this the police had to protect his house and children because the people of Worthing were angry at council because they caused the typhoid epidemic.

There was an epidemic because the council workers hit a sewage pipe and the people of Worthing ended up drinking raw sewage. The people who were infected lived very close together, they were all infected because the were sharing a water pump. West Worthing and Durrington were not infected because they didn’t share the same water supply as Worthing.
We looked at a cartoon. The message behind the cartoon was that because of the typhoid outbreak nobody came to Worthing and it lost a lot of money.

At the beginning of the lesson I didn’t know that Worthing had a typhoid epidemic and that a lot of people died. Also, that the infection spread quickly. I didn’t know that when you got typhoid you got a rash and a really bad fever. Not everyone died from typhoid.

History lesson 3

5 thoughts on “History lesson – What happened in Worthing in 1893?

  1. Really interesting stuff regarding Worthing!! I felt like I also had a History lesson today. Keep it up.

  2. Loads of very interesting information that you’ve learnt about. I also like looking at census info it’s a treasure trove of historical data. Well done and keep blogging!!

  3. Fascintating stuff – it’s always so interesting to learn more about local history, and what happened in the place you now live in. I always wonder what events that are happening now will be thought worthy of being reported on again in a hundred years or more… do we know if the events we’re living through now will be of interest to future generations? I bet the people of Worthing in the 1890s didn’t think that their typhoid epidemic would be of interest to anyone over a hundred years later. Keep investigating!

  4. It is my understanding that there was an outbreak of typhoid fever caused by contamination of drinking water by sewerage system due to poor maintenance by the council. This led to the deaths of many including my great grandmother, Emma Maria Laisley (nee Ball) died 1893 along with at least 3 of her children, Ethel age 8 and Ernest 6 weeks. My grandmother Edith Mary, survived age 11 but always remembered. When she died aged 84 she was calling for her mother and saying ‘don’t let them cut my hair Mum’. In those days they thought your hair sapped your strength so cut it off.

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