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Its 60 years since the Great London pea soup fogs called smog

Discussion in 'ex-Rag Chew Central' started by G0GQK, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. G4LNA

    G4LNA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was quite young at the time, about 4, but one of my youngest memories of that when I was with mum and we went to Oxford Street in London and we were in one of Lyons tea places and when we left I remember the smog cascading down the stairs as we were going up. I can't remember much after that, but mum said it took ages to get from there to Highgate where her brother lived. It's strange what comes back from quite a young memory, but I do get snatches of things from time to time.
  3. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The worst smog I've ever seen was in Mexico City. It was so bad that I could not see the ground from my hotel room window - 8 stories. The smog was fierce on Monday, but as each day of the work week passed, it just got worse - ground level visibility was less than a block. Then, over the weekend, it would almost disappear, only to start the cycle again on Monday.

    But none of that sounds even as remotely bad as the London Smog.
  4. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The fogs in London were terrible and were caused by anticyclonic conditions, still damp air mixed in with coal fire smoke and the low air pressure pressed the foul air down to ground level. The smog in Mexico City and Beijing is caused by heavy traffic, and Mexico is in the base of an ancient volcano

    The smogs in Britain were mostly coal smoke because at this time there was very much less use of cars, people didn't use them in the winter in those days. I can remember working in Stoke on Trent in November 1961 selling to retailers in the city when the pot banks were still in use, used for firing pottery, and when I got back to the digs, cold, miserable and fed up of getting lost, the five towns are notorious for people getting lost, my face looked as though I'd been down the pit and my outer clothes had a nasty smoky smell

    When I got married I bought a new house in a local town not familiar to me and driving down the road, my wife and I peering though the windscree I drove off the road on to the pavement and almost hit a lampost, and I still don't know how I did it !

    Years before driving on my own early in the morning after a night shift very dark and foggy I drove down the wrong side of a dual carriageway following the footpath and couldn't understand how it was I drove past a KEEP LEFT illuminated road sign on the left side of the car ! Don't know how that happened either, that's how thick the fogs were, 10 feet visibility at the most

    Mel G0GQK
  5. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    I couldn't help but chuckle. But, I'm sure you meant Mexico City is at the base of an ancient volcano.
  6. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you ever been to Mexico City? Better inside the volcano.
  7. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not yet. Is it anything like Shanghai?
  8. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Worse: Neza-Chalco-Itza barrio, Mexico--it's a slum in Mexico City with approximately 4 million people.
  9. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    As an aside have you ever seen the sewer system in Mexico City ? I know its a huge city but I think the only productive thing they do in that city is sit on the crapper !

    A bit more on Ye Greate Fogge of London

    Nothing much changes in 60 years, the government still is as wet as a dishcloth when it comes to making the right decisions

    Mel G0GQK
  10. G4OTU

    G4OTU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I remember as a kid of 12 yrs old , arriving in London docks on a boat from Singapore in 1954 in the middle of one of the London about a depressing welcome!
  11. N5PVL

    N5PVL Ham Member QRZ Page

    As long as I am not on the road, I generally enjoy foggy conditions.
  12. G8ADD

    G8ADD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Me, too, Charles: I remember walking back from the pub to the campsite through Cornish lanes lit by a full moon. There was a layer of sea fog blowing inland, and as the lane undulated sometimes we were below the fog lit by a pale ghost of the moon, sometimes we were in the fog which glowed with moonlight, and sometimes we were above the fog seeing it lying like a tablecloth in the fields below. Unforgettable!

    Of course, nobody could enjoy a smog, a mixture of smoke and fog. The great smogs killed thousands of people with weak lungs and coated everything with greasy sulphurous soot. Thank God they are a thing of the past!


    Brian G8ADD
  13. G4ALA

    G4ALA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The smog was quite memorable. At the time of its occurrence I had just started school and was being walked there by my father. We navigated by being able to see the edge of the pavement (sidewalk). Even though it was daylight the world was essentially in darkness. We eventually reached the local bus stop. Visibility was around 2 metres (6 feet). Suddenly, with all of its lights on, a double-decker London bus appeared being guided by the bus conductor walking along the curb. It was moving at walking pace or less. The memory of the bus suddenly materialising from invisibility to visibility has stuck with me. It could not be seen at all from 6-8 feet away. Needless to say, we just went home again and shut all the doors. Later on the television news reported that some thousands (I believe 4000) of people had died as a consequence of breathing difficulties and other reasons resulting from the smog.

    The smog prompted the "Clean Air Act" to be enacted. The condition of UK air in general was much improved by its being passed. We had no idea at that time that motor vehicle fumes might eventually prove to be an equivalent problem to that that encountered from coal smoke.

    73 John G4ALA
  14. G8ADD

    G8ADD Ham Member QRZ Page

    People talk about "The Smog" as if it was a single occurrence, but in fact it occurred frequently over a decade or more. Time and again in school and later in college the word would go around the classrooms, "go home, they're taking the buses off" and we would all troop off into a world where you could actually lose your way crossing the road - it happened to me twice! Within a mile of where I lived was a power station, a gasworks and coking plant, a number of foundries and at least one rolling mill, and as the sun went down you could see the fog rise and turn yellow. This happened whenever there was an anticyclone in the winter months, I last saw it happen about 1960, though that was brought on mainly by a paint factory going up in flames, because by then the smokeless zones had taken effect.


    Brian G8ADD
  15. 2E0CPX

    2E0CPX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I can remember back in the late 90's being stuck several times in the car park known as the M1 Motorway between Junction 10 and 9 just on the brow of hill looking south towards London, beautiful sunny day, hardly a cloud in the sky.

    London however had a shallow dome cloud of pollution over it, used to see that daily.

    My girlfriend at the time worked in London and I remember picking her up one evening from the railway station, with going into "Too Much Information" all I will say is handkerchief and black soot!

    My parents used to speak about the smog, glad I was born to late for that :)
  16. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    It had been happening in London since the time of Charles II that's why everybody referred to going to London on a train as "going down the smoke" London is now regarded romantically by all the BBC documentaries, all the sights all the buildings. The only reason they are clean is because they have spent billions on cleaning every building in London. There was a time quite recently when members of the house of Commons couldn't use the open air drinking area facing the Thames because the smell had been so bad, the Thames was an open cess pit

    In fact Buckingham Palace was a stinking dump until Prince Albert made every attempt to put some sanitation into the place, and he died of typhoid at an early age because of the disgusting filthy smelly muck hole that London was at the time. It smelled foul in the summer when it got a bit warm, and it was as bad in another way when November arrived, grotty foul smells mixed in with soot laden smog

    Mel G0GQK
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