It was one day, as I was walking in your majesty’s Palace at Whitehall that i saw a presumptuous smoak issuing from one or two tunnels near Northumberland House and not far from Scotland-yard. It did so invade the court; that all the rooms, galleries and places about it were fill’d and infested with it , and to such a degree as men could hardly discern one another for the cloud , and none could support himself without manifest inconveniency. The opening paragraph of John Evelyn’s essay on the problems of air pollution in London, first published in 1661.
John Evelyn’s landmark essay ‘Fumifugium or the Inconvenience of the Aer and Smoak of London Dissipated’ has been translated and republished by Environmental Protection UK to mark 350 years since its original publication. The famous essay set out to convince King Charles II to tackle the problem of poor air quality in London by outlining the causes, effects and possible solutions to the heavy smogs which blighted London in the 17th century.
EPUK have translated the old language into modern English and provided updates and footnotes on some of Evelyn’s early insights into the problems and solutions of London’s smoak dissipated.
Read EPUK’s translation here
Read John Evelyn’s original text here
Item date 20/09/2011