Blaker Family of Sussex - Reminiscences

Reminiscences

Cholera at Pyecombe.



IN the year 1849 cholera broke out at Pye-combe in some scattered houses situated at the top of Dale Hill, on the north-east side of the main road, and behind the Rectory. The mortality must have been very great, as the population of the whole parish could scarcely have exceeded three hundred, and these houses could hardly have contained more than one hun-dred, but even in this small number there were eleven deaths. The water-supply, always limited, was thought to be contaminated with sewage, and that some impurity in it was the cause of the disease was proved by the fact that, after the supply of water was changed, no more cases occurred.

In the management of this outbreak, Mr. George Brown, of Montpelier Road, who at that time lived at Ditchling, and was the parish doctor, took the medical part, and my uncle, Mr. George Blaker, the executive. A barn, called Chantry Barn, situated a short distance from these houses, was hastily extemporised as a hospital, and my uncle took great pains in fitting up a large tarpaulin screen across the middle of this barn, in order to separate the sexes, before the patients were brought in, in the evening. Great was his dismay, when he arrived very early next morning, to find his screen pulled down, and the sexes intermingled.

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