Soho sees a flurry of Snow in June

17 June 2008

Together with Health Secretary Alan Johnson, the charity WaterAid and a veritable drift of people named Snow, the RSC commemorated the 150th anniversary of the death of Dr John Snow on 16 June.

The assembled Snowmen and women joined Mr Johnson in toasting Dr Snow - who discovered that cholera is transmitted through water - with pints of the clean water we now take for granted in the UK.

The Health Secretary also unveiled an RSC Chemical Landmark Plaque in honour of Dr Snow, which is to be mounted on the exterior of the pub.

The event was held in the John Snow pub, on Broadwick Street, London, which stands on the site of the Broad Street Pump: the major local source of contaminated water at the time. Snow and friends famously cut off this supply by breaking the handle off the pump, thereby drastically reducing the local spread of cholera and demonstrating his theory to be correct.

The Snow gathering was photographed together by a memorial pump just outside the pub; those present included a Dr. John Snow (no relation) and Matt Snow, a direct descendent of the Victorian "father of epidemiology" himself.

With the toast, those in the pub acknowledged the millions of potential deaths prevented by Snow's work, and also the sad truth that many people in developing nations like Africa still have no access to clean water.

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