The Great Smog of London

From 5 to 9 December 1952, a dense smog caused by heavy coal combustion covered the city of London. In the following weeks, approximately 12,000 people died and tens of thousands more fell ill due to the smog’s effects on the human respiratory tract. While this kind of pollution-filled fog had already resulted in deaths in London in 1873, 1880, and 1892, the Great Smog of 1952 is considered the worst air pollution event in the history of the United Kingdom. It had a significant impact on environmental research, government regulations such as the Clean Air Act of 1956, and public awareness of the relationship between air quality and health.

Further Readings: 
  • Berridge, Virginia, ed. The Big Smoke: Fifty Years After the 1952 London Smog. University of London: Institute of Historical Research, 2005.
  • Greater London Authority. "50 Years On: The Struggle for Air Quality in London since the Great Smog of December 1952." London: Greater London Authority, 2002. View PDF