Medway has seen many outbreaks of:
- infectious diseases
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused misery and worldwide disaster. It's a pandemic which has changed our lives in countless ways.
This global health scare is not a new phenomenon, but it's new to us.
This brief exhibition shows some of the health scares that have affected Medway in the past.
It's striking that health and hygiene advice given then is similar to the rules we are following in 2021. The knowledge we have today is built on the suffering and experience of our ancestors.
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The Plague swept through Britain from 1665. It's believed the infection reached Medway through the ships at Chatham Dockyard.
The Old Spytall
The Old Spytall was Rochester's pest house. They were used as quarantine spaces for infections, such as smallpox.
The anti-vaccination movement
In 1853 the British Government made vaccinations for smallpox compulsory for children under three months old. A few people did not agree with this. One such man was Charles Washington Nye.
Hempstead smallpox outbreak
A family claimed for damages against Gillingham Council because a caravan was used as a temporary smallpox hospital near their home.
Smallpox was a deadly disease that caused epidemics throughout Britain. In Medway, we had a method of dealing with outbreaks that limited the spread of the infection.
Cholera, sanitation and the Brook
The Brook in Chatham started as a small stream. Over time it became full of waste, disease and bacteria.
The Strood typhoid outbreak
The outbreak of typhoid in Strood was unusual as it was limited to certain areas.
There were restrictions put in place across Medway to protect the public from typhoid.
Spanish flu regulations
Spanish flu ripped through Medway in 1918. Many schools and theatres were closed.