The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 in London, England

Spanish-Flu

At the end of World War I, soldiers coming back to London, England from the Western Front brought with them a particularly infectious version of influenza referred to as the “Spanish Flu”. Exact metrics are unknown because of poor data collection during the early 20th century but an estimated 50,000,000 (50 million) deaths occurred, 3x as many people than that which died during the entire span of World War I. Spanish Flu had its most devastating blitzkrieg upon London in the autumn of 1918, as thousands civilians and soldiers, weakened from 4.5 years of war, became ill within a few short days of Armistice Day. Spanish Flu works quickly to destroy the lungs of healthy victims, with those who contracted the pathogen feeling fine in the morning and often found dead, later that same evening. In 1918, 320 people died of Spanish Flu in London, but during 1919, Spanish Flu had a resurgence and exploded in severity with 16,000 – 23,000 people killed, a surge which caused a shortage of gravediggers and coffins, classifying Spanish Flu as the worst epidemic in living memory. The Spanish Flu outbreak came to an end in May of 1919 once enough of the British population had experienced the infection and either been killed or having survived, becoming immune to the point that the disease could no longer be passed through hosts efficiently enough to continue its spread

The 18th Century Gin Craze and it’s Association with Murder

19th-century-London-England-Gin-Craze

Gin was highly consumed in poorer areas of London, England as it was a cheaper alternative to beer. Gin was unregulated during the early 18th century, and was often badly distilled and filled with harmful compounds like oil of vitriol which is similar in construct to modern day turpintine, sulfuric acid, and methylated spirits. By 1750, gin consumption was at its peak, with the city of London consuming 11,000,000 (11 million) gallons per year. In the poorest areas of London, specifically upon the east end, it was not uncommon for everyone in public to be permanently drunk; an analogue to the modern day crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s. All members of society consumed gin including men, women, and children, with many cases exhibiting severe addictive traits as was the case with Judith Darfour, who took her child into a heath, murdered them to sell their petticoat clothing and acquire more gin, then attended work later that day as if nothing had occurred. Gin related crime soared and Mothers Ruin which refers to “women who killed their family members to acquire funds for gin” was responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children. When the death rate climbed higher than the birth rate, the British government was forced to intervene, outlawing small gin distilleries and ending the era referred to as the “Gin Craze”

Maria Gunning; The Woman Who Was Thought to be the Most Beautiful Woman in London, England During the 16th Century

Maria-Gunning

George William Coventry, the 6th Earl of Coventry, married Maria Gunning who was said to be the most beautiful woman in London, England, so beautiful in fact that grown men claim to have fainted when in her presence. Gunning wore a heavy layer of lead and mercury based makeup which caused blood poisoning and began to eat away at her skin. It is reported that Gunning only had the light of a tea kettle in her room, because she was so devastated by the damage done to her face by the makeup she wore. Venetian Ceruse, also referred to as “Spirits of Saturn”, was the 16th century cosmetic skin whitening agent which Gunning used. Venetian Ceruse was in great demand and considered the best available cosmetic during the era. The problem with lead and mercury based cosmetological products is that this compound contains acids which eat away at the skin and cause further blemishes which then in turn require even more concealer be used, causing a vicious cyclical scenario (e.g. further blemishes lead to more makeup, and more makeup, leads to ever further blemishes). It is believed that Queen Elizabeth I also used Venetian Ceruse to achieve her iconic pale beauty standard

Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots

Queen-Elizabeth-I

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, being a Catholic was illegal and those suspected of practicing Catholicism were charged with treason against England. Elizabeth I was the cousin of Mary Queen of Scots, and after Mary Queen of Scots was forcibly removed from her kingdom, she was brought in by Elizabeth I despite their difference in religion. Mary Queen of Scots was a devout Catholic and Elizabeth I was a practicing Protestant. Eventually, rumors circulated that Mary Queen of Scots would try to usurp the throne from her cousin. Clandestine messages were sent inside the heels of shoes, within the personal private areas of servants, within the pages of books, and using many other inventive solutions. The most effective way of sending secret messages during this period, was inside the cork of beer barrels as none of Elizabeth I guards ever thought to look there. Lemon juice was used as invisible ink which when heated with a candle flame, revealed clear messages and enabled Mary Queen of Scots and her allies to conspire against Elizabeth I. Mary Queen of Scots was eventually entrapped and convicted with her co-conspirators being publicly hung nearly until death, then brought down and disemboweled and shown their bowels, after which their limbs were cut off and displayed in prominent parts of London, England. Mary Queen of Scots was stayed of her execution as Elizabeth I would not sign her death warrant. It is estimated that this period is when British intelligence, specifically MI5 and MI6, began to formulate. The abbreviation “MI” stands for “military intelligence” and each number stands for “section 5” and “section 6”

Charity Within the Royal Family

Royal-Family-charity

Charity within the royal family has been documented as far back as 300 years ago, with King George visiting debtors prison and absolving those within it of their financial debts. Queen Victoria was an avid help to those living in London during the Industrial Revolution, and used both state and private funds to help those in squalor. Eventually Queen Victoria’s acts translated into legislative changes which made it illegal to provide living conditions which were unfit for human use. The United Kingdom has 180,000 charities with 10,000 of those being of a significant size. Between these charities approximately $91,000,000,000 ($91 billion) is raised per year, accounting for 4% of the total gross domestic product of the United Kingdom, which means that British charities raise approximately double what the government spends on military defense each year. The United Kingdom has been ranked the most charitable nation in Europe. The royal family sponsors approximately 3000 charities, with 1500 being Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Phillip’s responsibility, and the remaining being taken care of by the younger members of the royal family