The Hartlepool (England) Mail has a grim reminder of the realities our ancestors faced in their daily lives. Reporter Chris Cordner did a bit of research and found that cholera was a common cause of death of some of his ancestors. Indeed, the same is probably true for all of us as cholera was common well into the early twentieth century.
Cholera was a terrible disease. It was an infection of the small intestine. Sufferers would develop symptoms such as abdominal cramps, a dry mouth, dry skin, excessive thirst, glassy or sunken eyes. But the most profuse signs were vomiting and diarrhea. It was caused by the contamination of food and water, usually through poor sanitation.
Cholera was still a town problem in Hartlepool in the early 1900s and a report was prepared in 1901 by the town’s Medical Officer for Health Fred Morison. He said that he examined every house where diarrhea had contributed to a death. He found that, in 83 per cent of the cases, the houses had “midden privies” – otherwise known as communal toilets – and all of them were “in a most unsatisfactory condition.”
So much for life in "the good old days."
You can read this interesting article about the lives of our ancestors at http://goo.gl/MZSl6.
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