Cartographies of Life & Death: John Snow & Disease Mapping

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Cartographies of Life & Death: John Snow & Disease Mapping
© London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Archive
Detail of map showing deaths from cholera in Broad Street, Golden Square and the surrounding area from 19th August – 30th September 1854
Marking the birth 200 years ago of the forefather of epidemiology, John Snow, this exhibition explores the work and achievements of the man who first proved cholera was water-borne by tracking an outbreak of the disease to a water pump in Soho's Broadwick Street. Historical artefacts and commissioned artworks inspired by science feature in show, which is presented in the style of a disease mapping ‘detective’ trail. A programme of weekly events will include a pop-up water bar, weekly street performances, and, on March 15, a public lecture and drinks reception with historian and journalist, Sandra Hempel, entitled ' Mapping Disease: John Snow and Cholera.'


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This exhibit was exceedingly terrible. From all the publicity it has been getting, I assumed it would be quite large. Instead, it was basically a small entryway with a few cases in it, which admittedly contained interesting material, but not worth a special trek into town just to see it; and a few more maps and rather crappy modern art in an adjoining room. There was confusing signage throughout, as we weren't really sure where to where we supposed to go, and ended up walking up a few flights of stairs unnecessarily as a sign was directing us to the John Snow lecture theatre, which turned out to not be open to the public (and annoyingly, a woman who worked there asked us if we were heading up there as she was walking up the stairs behind us, and then didn't mention that it wasn't actually open until we reached the top). I suppose it's interesting enough if you're already in the area, but I certainly wouldn't recommend going out of your way for it.