On Dec. 5, 1952, a thick layer of fog
settled over the streets of London, blanketing the city. This was no ordinary wintery mist, but rather a noxious
haze of sulfur dioxide from coal-fired industrial factories and cookstoves in London homes. London’s Great Smog hung in the air for five consecutive days; visibility was reduced to mere feet and cars were abandoned or led off the road by police with…
to the Telegraph, the devastation the smog wrought “only became
apparent when undertakers reported that they were running out of coffins and
florists had sold all their flowers.” In the following three months, an estimated
13,000 people died of respiratory complications.