Pea Soup Fog – and other miseries

We can get all nostalgic about past eras and I’m the first to admit I focus on the glamour of the 1920s. But in The Jazz Files and its sequels I try to also show the darker underbelly of the period. In The Jazz Files there’s the long shadow of WWI, the Spanish Flu, the torture of suffragettes, domestic abuse, the dreadful living conditions of the poor and the forced institutionalisation of women with ‘mental health issues’. In Book 2(to come out in September 2016) there is the displacement of millions of people after the Russian Revolution and the plight of injured and unemployed servicemen in London. In Book 3, which I’ve just started, I’ve come across my first piece of misery: Pea Soup Fog! This lethal mix of mist from the Thames and noxious by-products from coal fires caused the ill-health or death of¬†tens of thousands¬†until the Clean Air Act of 1956 started to reverse it. Click here to see a picture of a policeman at Charing Cross in the early 1920s trying to direct traffic through the ‘pea soup’. Imagine poor Poppy having to live through that!

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