There were many times between 1813 and 1952 when London was overtaken with a thick, black fog. What made these fogs different than everyday fog most of us are familiar with is that in most instances, it actually killed people. The first event lasted for a week and visibility became so poor that even the most knowledgeable Londoners could no longer find their way through the city. In a 1873 black fog, the death rates in London were said to raise by 40%.
However, the real killer was the fog of January 26, 1880. The fog carried a thick mix of factory pollutants and coal smog that was heavy in sulfur dioxide. It stayed for three days and it is estimated that up to 12,000 people died from the fog. There were more fogs in following years that killed people, but it wasn’t til the fog of 1952 that killed 4,000 people until England finally took a stand to start fighting the pollution that made the fogs so deadly.
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