17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Fair Contribution to Bazalgette's memory,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Great Stink of London: Sir Joseph Bazalgette and the Cleansing of the Victorian Metropolis (Paperback)
'The Great Stink' is a somewhat misleading title; this book is in fact about Sir Joseph Bazalgette's genius as the engineer who created much of the face and utility substructure of contemporary London. In that role, this book provides a foundation to further work on a man who, Mr Halliday rightly points out, has no obvious memorial or public recognition.
The book covers the early provisions for London's sanitation; the state of epidemiology in the nineteenth century; the impact of the WC and Cholera in the first half of the C19th; the belated and confused attempts at reform and improvement; Bazalgette's fights to preserve and implement his vision; the issue of what happened to London's sewage once it was clear of the capital; and Bazalgette's other engineering/urban improvements - new bridges, parks, streets etc.
However, it is this attempt at combining a biography of Bazalgette's professional life with a history of the development of London's sanitation which causes the book's main weakness. This writer was left wanting to know more about the details of London's sewer system, but also about Bazalgette the man.
One other weakness is the reliance on old prints and not contemporary photographs of London before and after the improvements. Some more detailed system maps would also have been welcome.