When you hear the words "pea soup", you probably think of, well, pea soup. But pea soup is also the name of a particular type of thick fog, and in the early 20th century London was literally drowning in it.


Show Full Text

Also known as black fog or killer fog, it's caused by soot particles and poisonous sulfur dioxide produced by the burning of soft coal in homes and factories. The fog is potentially lethal, especially for the elderly and those with respiratory problems, and as you can see from these vintage photographs, there was no way to escape it. The choking pollution culminated in the Great Smog of 1952, and although the Clean Air Act was implemented just four years later, an estimated 12,000 people are believed to have died as a result of the hazardous air pollution. (h/t: vintage everyday)

#1 A Lamp Lighter At Work In Finsbury Park, London, 17 October 1935

A Lamp Lighter At Work In Finsbury Park, London, 17 October 1935

Topical Press Agency Report

Danielle Goedhart 4 months ago

Absolutely love this picture! ❤️

View more comments

#2 A Man Lighting His Pipe In Thick Fog Under The Arches At The Temple, London , 23 December 1935

A Man Lighting His Pipe In Thick Fog Under The Arches At The Temple, London , 23 December 1935

Arthur Tanner Report

Cathy Lowery 4 months ago

Like a scene straight out of a mystery movie!

View More Replies...
View more comments

#3 Fleet Street, 6 December 1952

Fleet Street, 6 December 1952

Edward Miller Report

Sarai Morrissette 4 months ago

Look like a charcoal drawing.

View more comments

#4 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 24 January 1934

Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 24 January 1934

Fox Photos Report

Tulip 4 months ago

Mr. Holmes in London :)

#5 Central London, January 1936

Central London, January 1936

Lacey Report

Kushal Ghosh 4 months ago

The poster " WANTED FOR MURDER " :O

View more comments

#6 Westminster Bridge, 14 January 1955

Westminster Bridge, 14 January 1955

Topical Press Agency Report

#7 National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, 1 December 1948

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, 1 December 1948

Warburton Report

Helga Novelli 4 months ago

They knew how to decorate the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square at that time!

#8 The Tower Of London, January 1947

The Tower Of London, January 1947

Fox Photos Report

#9 An Iceman Delivers In The Fog, 1 October 1919

An Iceman Delivers In The Fog, 1 October 1919

Topical Press Agency Report

#10 Liverpool St. Station, 29 January 1959

Liverpool St. Station, 29 January 1959

Edward Miller Report

#11 Hyde Park Corner, 25 October 1938

Hyde Park Corner, 25 October 1938

Fox Photos Report

#12 A Young Couple During The Great Smog, 1952

A Young Couple During The Great Smog, 1952

Report

Misty Pal 3 months ago

Great smog LOL bet ya it would be like clean air to us city folk today

#13 Barges Crowd Together At Hay's Wharf In Southwark, London, 26th October 1938

Barges Crowd Together At Hay's Wharf In Southwark, London, 26th October 1938

Topical Press Agency Report

#14 St Pancras Railway Station, 1 July 1907

St Pancras Railway Station, 1 July 1907

Topical Press Agency Report

Tulip 4 months ago

WoW!

#15 Middle Temple, Inns Of Court, Circa 1950

Middle Temple, Inns Of Court, Circa 1950

Keystone Report