Gone for a while but not forgotten: the Dr. John Snow memorial pump on Broadwick Street
The pump replica on Broadwick Street, Soho has been removed because of long-term building works, which are scheduled to take 18 months. Broadwick Street was at the centre of the famous outbreak of cholera in 1854. It was named ‘Broad Street’ at that time and a model of the pump was erected there in 1992. This commemorates the work of Dr. John Snow in producing evidence that cholera was waterborne and that the outbreak was due to sewage contamination of the water from the pump. The pump ‘statue’ had no handle, in memory of its removal as part of the outbreak control and also as an internationally recognised reminder of an iconic action in public health. It has become a popular memorial for tourists as well as to those interested in the history of public health. A ‘Museum of Water’ live artwork was staged at the site as part of the celebrations of Dr. Snow’s bicentenary in 2013, organised by the LSHTM. At the moment, there is no information at the site about the missing pump. The John Snow Society has asked for an image of the pump and information to be displayed near the site of the pump replica to reassure visitors that the pump will be coming back. Meanwhile, we hope for the safe return of this important historical public health monument and will follow its progress.
Ros Stanwell-Smith, Honorary Senior Lecturer, Centre for History in Public Health (PHP)