Barnard Castle during the Cholera

Wed 2 June 2021, 6pm - 7pm

Over the course of the last year, words like ‘pandemic’, ‘lockdown’, ‘infection rate’ and “death” have slowly been added to our daily vocabulary. A shock to most of us, the development of the Corona pandemic has come as a surprise that few of us expected to happen to such an advanced civilisation as we like to see ourselves today.

Not very long ago, epidemics were still a fairly common thing in Europe, often ravaging through a community and leaving behind desolation, death and grief. Sometimes, the life of the people left behind changed for the better, as authorities realised that significant modifications of the daily life and the running of their towns were needed.

In 1849, Cholera came to Barnard Castle. Over the course of eight weeks, 145 people died, most of which lived in the industrial area of the town down by the riverside where sanitary conditions were the worst.

Join Beverley Pilcher as she tells us about the conditions that led to the devastating result of the epidemic, how people lived through and dealt with the situation and how, in the end, the cholera epidemic led to several measures that helped improve the public health of Barnard Castle. Her talk will also look at the work of the vicar of the parish at the time, Rev George Dugard, who buried all who died of Cholera and did his best to improve the Situation at the bottom of the bank.

Beverley Pilcher has been part of the congregation of St Mary’s Parish Church for over 40 years where she also sung in the choir.

She first encountered the subject of the cholera epidemic of Barnard Castle as her dissertation topic for her M.A. in Historical Studies. As nothing significant had been written about what this major event in the life of the little market town, Beverley later reworte her dissertation into a book about Barnard Castle during the Cholera Epidemic of 1849.

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